• threnody •
Pronunciation: thre-nê-dee • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A lament, dirge, or requiem for the dead, possibly a sermon, poem, song, or similar creative work.
Notes: This is an odd little word with a sad meaning, but a bit lovelier than its synonyms mentioned in the Meaning. A person who writes or delivers a threnody is a threnodist. Works that contain or resemble a threnody are threnodic. Don't forget to change the Y to IE before adding the plural suffix: threnodies.
In Play: Since threnodies are laments for the dead, they most often emerge at funerals: "The highlight of the funeral was Barry Moore's beautiful threnody to the deceased." Keep in mind that threnodies are any kind of creative work written or composed for the dead: "Rusty Horne wrote a poignant threnody for a brass choir that was played at Justin's wake."
Word History: Today's Good Word was taken from Greek threnoidia "lamentation", a compound comprising threnos "lament" + oide "song". Oide is the source of English ode and is found in several other borrowings, such as melody (tuneful song), rhapsody (sewing song), parody (secondary song), and tragedy (goat song—don't ask). Threnos comes from an earlier form, dhrein- "murmur, drone", which showed up in Germanic languages as English drone and German dröhnen "to drone". (We must thank Jamies Jones for suggesting today's Good Word and possibly forestalling a threnody for it.)