Also called hymn·book [him-boo k] /ˈhɪmˌbʊk/. a book of hymns for use in a religious service.


of or relating to hymns.

Origin of hymnal

1535–45; (in def 1) < Medieval Latin hymnāle, noun use of neuter of hymnālis (adj.); (in def 2) < Medieval Latin hymnālis; see hymn, -al1, -al2
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British Dictionary definitions for hymnal



a book of hymns


of, relating to, or characteristic of hymns
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

Word Origin and History for hymnal

c.1500, imnale, himnale, from Medieval Latin hymnale, from ymnus, from Latin hymnus (see hymn). As an adjective, attested from 1640s. Hymnal measure, a quatrain, usually iambic, alternately rhymed, is so called for being the preferred verse form for English hymns (e.g. "Amazing Grace"), but it has been popular in English secular poetry as well, "though it almost always suggests the hymn, directly or ironically" [Miller Williams, "Patterns of Poetry," Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1986].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper