Word Of The Day 5-25-2017


thren·o·dy \ˈthre-nə-dē\
Popularity: Bottom 50% of word


A song of lamentation; a dirge; especially, a poem composed for the occasion of the funeral of some personage.


House of Exile is a bold, inventive and often haunting threnody for European letters in a terrible century.
House of Exile by Evelyn Juers – review

In fact, its tensions could have as much to do with the exquisite intensity of love — Barber didn’t intend it as a threnody — but Alsop and the orchestra did nothing to go against the prevailing view; it got a gentle, modulated performance from the orchestra’s rich strings.
In performance: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

“I Remember Clifford” is a jazz threnody written by Benny Golson in memory of the Clifford Brown, the influential jazz trumpeter who was killed in an automobile accident in 1956 at the age of 25.
Archive 2008-12-01

But my toaster doesn’t offer the tantalizing music of Pynchon’s voice, with its shifts from comic shtick to heartbroken threnody, its mordant Faulkneresque interludes, its gusts of lyric melancholy blown in by way of F. Scott Fitzgerald, its ecstatic perorations from Jack Kerouac.
November 2006

The widow, bloated with tears and surrounded by her would-be comforters, was indeed still spouting words between her bouts of weeping, and had no objection to continuing her threnody for the benefit of the sheriff, when he drove her companions away for a short while, to have the bereaved woman to himself.
The Rose Rent

Did You Know?

Threnody encompasses all genres. There are great threnodies in prose (such as the lines from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House upon the death of Little Jo: “Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead….”), in poetry (as in W. H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues”: “The stars are not wanted now: put out every one, / Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun….”), and in music (Giovanni Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater,” for one). Threnody, which we borrowed from the Greek word thrēnōidia (from thrēnos, the word for “dirge”), has survived in English since the early 1600s. Melody, tragedy, and comedy are related to threnody through the Greek root that forms their ending-aeidein, which means “to sing.”


The word ‘threnody’ comes from the Greek roots meaning ‘dirge, lament’ and ‘song’.



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