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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Encomium \En*co"mi*um\, n.; pl. Encomiums. [NL., fr. Gr. ? (a song) chanted in a Bacchic festival in praise of the god; ? in + ? a jovial festivity, revel. See Comedy.] Warm or high praise; panegyric; strong commendation.

His encomiums awakened all my ardor.
--W. Irving.

Syn: See Eulogy.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"discriminating expression of approval," 1580s, from Late Latin encomium, from Greek enkomion (epos) "laudatory (ode), eulogy," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + komos "banquet, procession, merrymaking" (see comedy).


n. warm praise, especially a formal expression of such praise; a tribute.

  1. n. a formal expression of praise [syn: eulogy, panegyric, paean, pean]

  2. [also: encomia (pl)]


Encomium is a Latin word deriving from the Classical Greek ἐγκώμιον (enkomion) meaning "the praise of a person or thing." Encomium also refers to several distinct aspects of rhetoric:

  • A general category of oratory
  • A method within rhetorical pedagogy
  • A figure of speech. As a figure, encomium means praising a person or thing, but occurring on a smaller scale than an entire speech.
  • The eighth exercise in the progymnasmata series
  • A literary genre that included five elements: prologue, birth and upbringing, acts of the person's life, comparisons used to praise the subject, and an epilogue.

Usage examples of "encomium".

John thought one or two of his encomiums on Lady Harriet Denbigh, the sister of his grace, augured that the unkindness of Emily might in time be forgotten.

Hence they past to the beauty of the place, on which Jones launched forth very high encomiums.

King Charles wrote a letter with his own hand to the queen of England, containing a circumstantial detail of his affairs, the warmest expressions of acknowledgment, and the highest encomiums on her subjects, particularly the earl of Peterborough.

Lucian alludes, it is supposed, to Ctesias, the physician to Artaxerxes, whose history is stuffed with encomiums on his royal patron.

I read his encomiums for the specialized sims he called grief counselors -- and opposing editorials from every perspective.

But as the encomiums to Washington continued, in speeches, sermons, and editorials--tributes that seemed often as contrived for show as the black plumes and fans--Abigail grew extremely impatient.

To which encomium he added that she knew how to manage a horse, fly a hawk, read, write and cast up accounts better than as if she were a merchant.

Upon the same principle we must account for the unmerited encomia lavished upon these fragile blossoms.

Brian Aldiss, Michael Bishop, myself -- and many others -- have all written encomia as extravagant, but all these praises had very little effect on the sales of the books they garlanded during the years those books were being written.

We were growing accustomed to encomiums on wonders that too often proved no wonders at all.

The Missionaries tell me that they hear encomiums like that passed upon people every day.

Ah well, I had hoped that King Aillas would be present at the opening ceremonies, but we shall not delay, and he will miss nothing of substance, since we must proceed through a round or two of encomiums, salutes, noble breast-beating, laudatory allusions and the like.