- 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.
Origin of litany
SynonymsSee more synonyms for litany on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for litany
But does anyone think this litany of tasks is an appropriate use of physician time?Why Your Doctor Feels Like a 'Beaten Dog'
September 11, 2014
Well, despite the litany of issues at hand, this is an absolute win-win for Jackson.The Knicks Aren't a Sports Team. They're a Reality Show, and Phil Jackson is Their Latest Star.
March 12, 2014
Fink ran through a litany of concerns: China, Japan, “the nonsense in Washington,” the Federal Reserve.Wall Street CEOs Say It’s The Best of Times and The Worst of Times
November 12, 2013
The Cheetahs Among McCarthy's litany of totally weird, inspired flourishes, is a pair of domestic cheetahs.The Best Scenes From Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Counselor’ Screenplay
October 27, 2013
Among the litany of things the shutdown will mess up, you can add our nascent housing recovery.Government Shutdown Could Slow Housing Recovery
October 1, 2013
This was his commendation, from hour to hour; it made up the litany of his gratitude for what she had been to him.Meadow Grass
At 11.30 we had the Litany, at which I was able to be present, on deck.
I was able to attend the Litany at 11.30, and evening service at 4.
The petition had not yet been erased from the Litany—why should it ever have been?Clare Avery
Emily Sarah Holt
They prayed for the cause of missions in their Sunday Litany.History of the Moravian Church
J. E. Hutton
- a form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations, each followed by an unvarying response
- the Litanythe general supplication in this form included in the Book of Common Prayer
- any long or tedious speech or recital
Word Origin and History for litany
c.1200, from Old French letanie and directly from Medieval Latin letania, Late Latin litania (cf. Spanish letania, Italian litania), from Greek litaneia "litany, an entreating," from lite "prayer, supplication, entreaty," of unknown origin. From notion of monotonous enumeration of petitions in Christian prayer services came generalized sense of "repeated series," early 19c., borrowed from French.
For those who know the Greek words, a litany is a series of prayers, a liturgy is a canon of public service; the latter in practice includes prayer, but does not say so. [Fowler]
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.”