• WordNet 3.6
    • n dithyramb (ancient Greece) a passionate hymn (usually in honor of Dionysus)
    • n dithyramb a wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Dithyramb A kind of lyric poetry in honor of Bacchus, usually sung by a band of revelers to a flute accompaniment; hence, in general, a poem written in a wild irregular strain.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n dithyramb A form of Greek lyric composition, originally a choral song in honor of Dionysus, afterward of other gods, heroes, etc. First given artistic form by Arion (about 625 b. c.) and rendered by cyclic choruses, it was perfected, about a century later, by Lasos of Hermione, and at about the same time tragedy was developed from it in Attica. Its simpler and more majestic form, as composed by Lasos, Simonides, Bacchylides, and Pindar, assumed in the latter part of the fifth century a complexity of rhythmical and musical form and of verbal expression which degenerated in the fourth century into a mimetic performance rendered by a single artist. From these different stages in its history the word dithyramb has been used in later ages both for a nobly enthusiastic and elevated and for a wild or inflated composition. In its distinctive form the dithyramb is ἀλλοιόστροφος (consists of a number of strophes no two of which are metrically identical).
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Dithyramb dith′i-ram an ancient Greek hymn sung in honour of Bacchus: a short poem of a like character
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. dithyrambus, Gr. a kind of lyric poetry in honor of Bacchus; also, a name of Bacchus; of unknown origin: cf. F. dithyrambe,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.,—Gr. dithyrambos, a hymn in honour of Bacchus.


In literature:

Now and then a dithyrambic rapture came over him, especially when there was wine in his blood.
"Atlantis" by Gerhart Hauptmann
The dithyrambic prose in which it is the fashion to celebrate our conspicuous men has a hollow sound, very like cant.
"Education and the Higher Life" by J. L. Spalding
The day of sentiment was over, and no dithyrambic affirmations or fine-drawn analyses of the Rights of Man would serve their present turn.
"Harvard Classics Volume 28" by Various
It was a dithyrambic of the wildest and most passionate enthusiasm, inciting to carnage and fury.
"The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volumes I-VI." by Various
What dithyrambs he went into about eating and drinking!
"Romola" by George Eliot
Thine endless praise I am, And paeans follow on my dithyrambs!
"Life Immovable" by Kostes Palamas
It is glorified for popularity, and is a subject of dithyrambic rhetoric.
"Folkways" by William Graham Sumner
He became dithyrambic and he spoke in a tone not loud, but full of concentrated fire and feeling.
"The Eyes of the Woods" by Joseph A. Altsheler
She heard a negro shouting dithyrambics about some religion she could never make out.
"The Job" by Sinclair Lewis
On the canvases are dithyrambic burlesques in color, vicious fantasies, despairing caricatures.
"Fantazius Mallare" by Ben Hecht

In poetry:

They say:"Be prudent" - and then comes this dithyramb:
Who thinks to strike Nero
"Tiptoes in and does not first cry out an iamb
"Nor make a bugle blow
"They Say:" by Victor Marie Hugo
What! are these the guests whose glances
Seemed like sunshine gleaming round me?
These the wild, bewildering fancies,
That with dithyrambic dances
As with magic circles bound me?
"Epimetheus, or the Poet's Afterthought. (Birds Of Passage. Flight The First)" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
For a poet wrought in Panama
With a continent for his theme,
And he wrote with flood and fire
To forge a planet s dream,
And the derricks rang his dithyrambs
And his stanzas roared in steam.
"Goethals, The Prophet Engineer" by Percy MacKaye