What Is Requiem? – Definition & Meaning

Photo of author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Welcome to your crash course on the term requiem, where I’ll compose a symphony of understanding around this multifaceted word to make it as easy as possible for you to use. It’s no rock opera, but this word has its share of drama. Let’s see what it’s all about.

Composing the Meaning of Requiem

What Is Requiem Definition Meaning

Requiem isn’t just a cool name for a Netflix series or the title of your goth cousin’s favorite poem. Although, it’s kind of gothic in nature.

A requiem is a musical composition or mass for the dead. If you think that’s a bit macabre, you’re not wrong. But in the world of language, it’s less about the Grim Reaper and more about paying respects.

Requiem: Noun or Verb?

Is requiem a verb or noun? Well, you wouldn’t say, “I requiem-ed so hard at the party last night,” would you? So, with that in mind, requiem is clearly a noun. It represents a thing—specifically, a musical thing meant for the dearly departed.

The Choir of Requiems

If you’ve got more than one requiem, maybe you’re an exceptionally dedicated composer or just a fan of funeral music, then you’re dealing with requiems. Yes, the plural is as simple as adding an s.

Striking the Right Chord: How to Pronounce Requiem

The word requiem isn’t as hard to pronounce as it is to compose. The standard English pronunciation of requiem goes like this: Rek-wee-uhm. The emphasis should be on the first syllable.

Uncovering the Origin and Etymology of Requiem

The English requiem is a Latin term that was originally used in the phrase “Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,” which means “Grant them eternal rest, O Lord.” It eventually became associated with the mass for the dead because the phrase is part of the introit (opening) of the Latin mass, or requiem mass.

Other Words for Requiem

Believe it or not, there are a few synonyms for the Latin requiem that you can use in place of the term.

  • Dirge
  • Elegy
  • Lament
  • Threnody
  • Funeral song

Antonyms of Requiem

  • Hymn
  • Eulogy
  • Panegyric 

Using Requiem in a Sentence

What Is Requiem Definition Meaning 1

Here are a handful of great examples showing how you can apply the word requiem in a sentence.

  • His latest composition is a requiem dedicated to his late mother.
  • The mournful requiem resonated throughout the cathedral, creating a beautiful, eerie atmosphere that my friend would have loved.
  • I would like her to compose something for my funeral because she’s known for her haunting requiems, touching the heart’s deepest chords.
  • The local orchestra will perform Mozart’s Requiem in D minor next weekend.
  • He’s my favorite author because his writings often read like a requiem for a lost world.

I have spent the last three years building a great requiem for those World War I dead – a Diggers’ Requiem, co-commissioned by the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs that will premiere in Amiens on April 23, 2018, using the combined forces of the Orchestre de Picardie and Germany’s Jena Philharmonic along with Australian soloists, paid for by the Australia Council. (The Canberra Times)

Curtains Close on Requiem

Congrats, maestro! You’ve conducted a deep dive into the word requiem and come out the other side with some fun facts and some insight. So next time you attend a classical concert or peruse a church program, you can nudge whomever you’re with and say, “Did you know…?” Stock up on more awesome words like this with our other guides!