Litany



[lit-n-ee] /ˈlɪt n i/

noun, plural litanies.
1.
a ceremonial or liturgical form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations or supplications with responses that are the same for a number in succession.
2.
the Litany, the supplication in this form in the Book of Common Prayer.
3.
a recitation or recital that resembles a litany.
4.
a prolonged or tedious account:
We heard the whole litany of their complaints.
/ˈlɪtənɪ/
noun (pl) -nies
1.
(Christianity)

2.
any long or tedious speech or recital
n.

c.1200, from Old French letanie and directly from Medieval Latin letania, Late Latin litania (cf. Spanish letania, Italian litania), from Greek litaneia “litany, an entreating,” from lite “prayer, supplication, entreaty,” of unknown origin. From notion of monotonous enumeration of petitions in Christian prayer services came generalized sense of “repeated series,” early 19c., borrowed from French.

For those who know the Greek words, a litany is a series of prayers, a liturgy is a canon of public service; the latter in practice includes prayer, but does not say so. [Fowler]

In many religions, a ritual repetition of prayers. Usually a clergyman or singer chants a prayer, and the congregation makes a response, such as “Lord, have mercy.”

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