verb (used with object), can·til·lat·ed, can·til·lat·ing.

to chant; intone.

Origin of cantillate

1860–65; < Late Latin cantillātus sung low, hummed (past participle of cantillāre), equivalent to cant- sing (see cant1) + -ill- diminutive suffix + -ātus -ate1
Related formscan·til·la·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cantillation

Historical Examples of cantillation

  • The feature that most interests us is the singing, or cantillation, of the oli.

    Unwritten Literature of Hawaii

    Nathaniel Bright Emerson

  • The cantillation of the mele was in the distinct and quiet tone and manner which the Hawaiians termed ko'i-honua.

    Unwritten Literature of Hawaii

    Nathaniel Bright Emerson

  • They guide the modulated flow of the voice in cantillation, thus serving, in a certain sense, as musical notes.

British Dictionary definitions for cantillation



the traditional notation representing the various traditional Jewish melodies to which scriptural passages are chanted
chanting or intonation



to chant (passages of the Hebrew Scriptures) according to the traditional Jewish melody
to intone or chant

Word Origin for cantillate

C19: from Late Latin cantillāre to sing softly, from Latin cantāre to sing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012