Student Dictionary

One entry found for dirge.
Main Entry: dirge
Pronunciation: primarystressdschwarj
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English dirige "service performed when someone dies," from Latin dirige "direct," first word in a prayer for the dead, from earlier dirigere "to direct"
: a song or hymn of mourning; especially : one intended for funeral or memorial ceremonies
Word History The meaning of English dirge is not directly related to the meaning of the Latin word it comes from. Dirge and its earlier form dirige, meaning "a song or hymn of mourning," come from the first word of a Latin chant used in the church service for the dead: "Dirige, Domine deus meus, in conspectu tuo viam meam" (Direct, O Lord my God, my way in thy sight). Because hymns and chants were often referred to by their first words, dirge became the common word for this chant. Later it was used for a slow, solemn hymn of mourning.

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