litany

[ lit-n-ee ]
/ ˈlɪt n i /

noun, plural lit·a·nies.

a ceremonial or liturgical form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations or supplications with responses that are the same for a number in succession.
the Litany, the supplication in this form in the Book of Common Prayer.
a recitation or recital that resembles a litany.
a prolonged or tedious account: We heard the whole litany of their complaints.

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Origin of litany

before 900; < Late Latin litanīa < Late Greek litaneía litany, Greek: an entreating, equivalent to litan- (stem of litaínein, variant of litaneúein to pray) + -eia -y3; replacing Middle English letanie, Old English letanīa < Medieval Latin, Late Latin, as above

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH litany

litany liturgy

Words nearby litany

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for litany

British Dictionary definitions for litany

litany
/ (ˈlɪtənɪ) /

noun plural -nies

Christianity
  1. a form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations, each followed by an unvarying response
  2. the Litany the general supplication in this form included in the Book of Common Prayer
any long or tedious speech or recital

Word Origin for litany

C13: via Old French from Medieval Latin litanīa from Late Greek litaneia prayer, ultimately from Greek litē entreaty
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

Cultural definitions for litany

litany

In many religions, a ritual repetition of prayers. Usually a clergyman or singer chants a prayer, and the congregation makes a response, such as “Lord, have mercy.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.