Webster 1913 Edition
antefen, fr. LL.
antiphona, fr. Gr.
ἀντίφωνα, neut. pl. of
ἀντίφωνονantiphon, or anthem, n. neut., from
ἀντίφωνοσsounding contrary, returning a sound;
ἀντίover against +
φωνήsound, voice: the anthem being sung by the choristers alternately, one half-choir answering the other: cf. OF.
Formerly, a hymn sung in alternate parts, in present usage, a selection from the Psalms, or other parts of the Scriptures or the liturgy, set to sacred music.
To celebrate with anthems.
Webster 1828 Edition
A hymn sung in alternate parts; but in modern usage, a sacred tune or piece of music set to words, taken from the psalms or other parts of the scriptures, first introduced into church service in Elizabeth's reign.