dirge

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dirge

 (dûrj)
n.
1. Music
a. A funeral hymn or lament.
b. A slow, mournful musical composition.
2. A mournful or elegiac poem or other literary work.
3. Roman Catholic Church The Office of the Dead.

[Middle English, an antiphon at Matins in the Office of the Dead, from Medieval Latin dīrige Domine, direct, O Lord (the opening words of the antiphon), imperative of dīrigere, to direct; see direct.]

dirge′ful adj.
Word History: The Office of the Dead is a traditional ecclesiastical office (a cycle of prayers) of the Roman Catholic Church that is sung or recited for the repose of the soul of a deceased person. Although the form of this ancient ritual has varied through the ages, in medieval times it consisted of a vespers service, a requiem mass, and a following service of matins and lauds. The traditional liturgical language of the Roman Catholic Church is Latin, and the first antiphon of the matins service of the Office of the Dead consists of the Latin words "Dīrige, Domine," "Direct, O Lord," a shorter version of a phrase occurring later in the liturgy, "Dīrige, Domine, Deus Meus, in cōnspectū tuō viam meam," "Direct, O Lord, my God, my way in thy sight." In Middle English, the matins of the Office came to be called dirige, after the opening word of the service. Dirige could also be used to refer to the entire Office of the Dead, not just the matins service, and the word was often shortened to dirge. Later, in the 1500s, dirge began to take on the more general senses of "a funeral hymn or lament" and "a mournful poem or musical composition."

dirge

(dɜːdʒ)
n
1. (Music, other) a chant of lamentation for the dead
2. (Ecclesiastical Terms) the funeral service in its solemn or sung forms
3. (Music, other) any mourning song or melody
[C13: changed from Latin dīrigē direct (imperative), opening word of the Latin antiphon used in the office of the dead]
ˈdirgeful adj

dirge

(dɜrdʒ)

n.
1. a funeral song or tune, or one expressing mourning in commemoration of the dead.
2. any composition resembling such a song or tune in character, as a poem of lament for the dead or solemn, mournful music.
3. the office of the dead, or the funeral service as sung.
[1175–1225; Middle English dir(i)ge < Latin dīrige (imperative of dīrigere to direct), first word of the antiphon sung in the Latin office of the dead (Psalm V, 8)]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.dirge - a song or hymn of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person
keen - a funeral lament sung with loud wailing
song, vocal - a short musical composition with words; "a successful musical must have at least three good songs"

dirge

noun lament, requiem, elegy, death march, threnody, dead march, funeral song, coronach (Scot. & Irish) the mournful dirge, `Erin's Lament'
Translations

dirge

[dɜːdʒ] Ncanto m fúnebre, endecha f

dirge

nGrab- or Trauer- or Klagegesang m

dirge

[dɜːdʒ] nlamento funebre
References in classic literature ?
It was a moment of great peril; for,--despite the traditionary awe that had gathered over this instrument of music, and the dirges which spiritual fingers were said to play on it,--the devoted sister had solemn thoughts of thrumming on its chords for Clifford's benefit, and accompanying the performance with her voice.
Mendicants were of course assembled by the score, together with strolling soldiers returned from Palestine, (according to their own account at least,) pedlars were displaying their wares, travelling mechanics were enquiring after employment, and wandering palmers, hedge-priests, Saxon minstrels, and Welsh bards, were muttering prayers, and extracting mistuned dirges from their harps, crowds, and rotes.
His long improvised dirges will ring for ever in my ears.
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of "Never -- nevermore.
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of "never--never more
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of 'Never--nevermore.
Phantom ships are on the sea, the dead of twenty centuries come forth from the tombs, and in the dirges of the night wind the songs of old forgotten ages find utterance again.
Is it but the mermaids singing deep below the waving waters; or sad spirits, chanting dirges for white corpses, held by seaweed?
The mother and daughter are singing together a wild and melancholy dirge, common as a funeral hymn among the slaves:
And now it is the time; from Hell's abyss Come thirsting Tantalus, come Sisyphus Heaving the cruel stone, come Tityus With vulture, and with wheel Ixion come, And come the sisters of the ceaseless toil; And all into this breast transfer their pains, And (if such tribute to despair be due) Chant in their deepest tones a doleful dirge Over a corse unworthy of a shroud.
The nine muses also came and lifted up their sweet voices in lament--calling and answering one another; there was not an Argive but wept for pity of the dirge they chaunted.
When they had borne the body within the house they laid it upon a bed and seated minstrels round it to lead the dirge, whereon the women joined in the sad music of their lament.