A hymn is a type of
religious, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or
prayer, and typically addressed to a
deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or
personification. The word hymn derives from
Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), which means "a song of praise". A writer of hymns is known as a
hymnodist. The singing of hymns is called hymnody. Collections of hymns are known as
hymnals or hymn books. Hymns may or may not include instrumental accompaniment.
Although most familiar to speakers of English in the context of Christian churches, hymns are also a fixture of other
world religions, especially on the Indian subcontinent. Hymns also survive from antiquity, especially from Egyptian and Greek cultures. Some of the oldest surviving examples of notated music are hymns with Greek texts.