Definition of litany in English:

litany

nounlitanies

  • 1A series of petitions for use in church services or processions, usually recited by the clergy and responded to in a recurring formula by the people.

    • ‘Many times in my life, I have heard Perpetua and Felicity mentioned in litanies of saints and prayers of the Church.’
    • ‘So out went audible responses, the minister's surplice and the litany.’
    • ‘One day just before Easter, we joined a procession which wound along singing litanies, in and out of four churches, before finishing at Santa Chiara, a sort of liturgical pub crawl.’
    • ‘We went then from the cold church in solemn procession, singing litanies into the thin air.’
    • ‘Gone are the days when the community of Sisters which at times numbered about twenty were in their pews at 6.30 am reciting their prayers and litanies.’
    • ‘Throughout the 1770s, nevertheless, dramatic works took second place to liturgical demands, including mass settings of increasing intensity, litanies, vespers, and a series of church sonatas.’
    • ‘The second type is worship without the sacraments that incorporates a more ‘contemporary’ style of litanies, music, prayers, and readings.’
    • ‘For many who are, like Peter, in the course of progressive dementia, litanies, prayers, and hymns often have a deep emotional significance.’
    • ‘Display the worship prayers and litanies on the screen in a typeface large enough to be seen from the back of the worship space.’
    • ‘Each of the first four sections includes prayers, litanies, and many other types of texts.’
    • ‘The rite involves incense, candles, litanies and novenas, and set hymns, often in Latin.’
    • ‘Diviners started to include seven Psalms with litanies and prayers.’
    • ‘Its structural references are historical - to the Greek chorus articulating emotionally freighted communal reactions, and to the polyphonic litanies and choral works of medieval Christian churches.’
    • ‘The book concludes with some litanies in honor of Mary.’
    • ‘In 1545 he wrote a litany that is still used in the church.’
    • ‘And as the shadows deepen I light my candles and abjure the cold evening by gripping the picture and mouthing a litany of His name.’
    prayer, invocation, petition, supplication, devotion, entreaty
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    1. 1.1the LitanyA litany contained in the Book of Common Prayer.
      • ‘Sympathetically, they sang to him penitential psalms, particularly the Miserere, and the Litany of Loreto, while he gazed at a panel from their diverse collection of tavolette.’
      • ‘This was initiated by the singing of Veni, Creator and the Litany, and the saying of several long prayers.’
      • ‘About the same time the primers were revised, and the King's Primer issued in 1545 in the interest of uniformity; it included the English Litany.’
      • ‘There is also a brief homily on the saints and the universal call to holiness, night prayer, and a candlelight procession to the cloister's reliquary while chanting the Litany of the Saints.’
      • ‘When the Litany is sung or said immediately before the Eucharist, the Litany concludes here, and the Eucharist begins with the Salutation and the Collect of the Day.’
  • 2A tedious recital or repetitive series.

    ‘a litany of complaints’
    • ‘But the litany of complaints from Government officials cannot be taken up by anyone other than themselves.’
    • ‘A similar litany of complaints might have come from any United follower in the street, which is why fan endorsement has been nearly unanimous.’
    • ‘Sorry, but I don't have any more time to address your litany of other complaints.’
    • ‘He's forced to watch a videotape of her reading off a litany of complaints about their dysfunctional marriage.’
    • ‘For twenty minutes my hostess listed the now familiar litany of complaints.’
    • ‘It would have been easy, however, for them to dump out a litany of complaints and call it a day.’
    • ‘Ugh, I just can't bear to sit through a litany of her illnesses and complaints and all of that right now.’
    • ‘The litany continues for well over three hundred pages, but there is little point in following it further.’
    • ‘The gizmo had no sense of how long each step might take, and continued its litany of orders while the user would likely still be occupied with a previous task.’
    • ‘As he recites this depressing litany, there is steel in his voice.’
    • ‘Professor Jones recites the grim litany of human tragedies that have plagued our planet over the last 100 years.’
    • ‘Most kitchen designers hear this litany of complaints at least once a week.’
    • ‘I don't want to hear your litany of complaints.’
    • ‘His Columbia University office was ransacked and he was subject to a seemingly endless litany of lies about his character.’
    • ‘Early chapters review the usual tiresome litany of depressing problems caused by traditional approaches to building and other human endeavors.’
    • ‘A friend who is simply willing to listen to someone's litany of woes may save a life.’
    • ‘I no longer have time for your garbled emails, and now your litany of lies.’
    • ‘There is a whole litany of character traits like this in all of us.’
    • ‘Oh yes, I trotted out the whole litany of familiar negatives.’
    • ‘Nothing is more depressing than a never-ending litany of vandalism, muggings and burglaries.’
    recital, recitation, repetition, enumeration, account, refrain
    View synonyms

Origin

Middle English from Old French letanie, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek litaneia ‘prayer’, from litē ‘supplication’.

Pronunciation

litany

/ˈlɪt(ə)ni/