1. A devotional composition sung responsively as part of a liturgy.
a. A short liturgical text chanted or sung responsively preceding or following a psalm, psalm verse, or canticle.
b. Such a text formerly used as a response but now rendered independently.
3. A response; a reply: "It would be truer ... to see [conservation] as an antiphon to the modernization of the 1950s and 1960s" (Raphael Samuel).
[Late Latin antiphōna, sung responses; see ANTHEM.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.