paean [ˈpiən] n.
1.) In reference to Greek Antiquity: a hymn or chant of thanksgiving for deliverance originally addressed to Apollo or Artemis; especially a song of triumph after victory addressed to Apollo, also a war-song in advancing to battle addressed to Ares; hence any solemn song or chant. The full phrase Io pæan occurs poetically as a noun in same sense.
2.) In modern use: a song of praise or thanksgiving; a shout or song of triumph, joy, or exultation (O.E.D. 2nd Ed.).
Etymology: adopted from Latin pæan, an adaptation of Greek παιάν a hymn or chant, properly one addressed to Apollo invoked under the name Pæan (Παιάν, Attic Παιών, Epic Παιήων), originally the Homeric name of the physician of the gods. The invocation being by the phrase Ἰὼ Παιάν, Io Pæan, the song or hymn came itself to be called the pæan.
"When, wide in soul, and bold of tongue,
Among the tents I paused and sung,
The distant battle flash'd and rung.
I sung the joyful Paean clear,
And, sitting, burnish'd without fear
The brand, the buckler, and the spear
Waiting to strive a happy strife,
To war with falsehood to the knife,
And not to lose the good of life" ("The Two Voices", Alfred Tennyson, 1842).
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