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From French antiphone or Medieval Latin antiphōna, from Ancient Greek ἀντίφωνα ‎(antíphōna, responses, musical accords), neuter plural substantive of ἀντίφωνος ‎(antíphōnos, concordant) from ἀντί ‎(antí, in return) + φωνή ‎(phōnḗ, sound). Compare anthem.



antiphon ‎(plural antiphons)

  1. A devotional piece of music sung responsively.
  2. A response or reply.
    • 2007, Barbara Everett, ‘Making and Breaking in Shakespeare's Romances’, in the London Review of Books 29:6, page 20:
      The Clown [] says: ‘And so we wept; and there was the first gentleman-like tears that ever we shed’; to which his father, the Shepherd, adds the comfortable antiphon, ‘We may live, son, to shed many more.’


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