Hymn

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A hymn (the '-n' is silent: 'hymn' sounds like the common English personal pronoun 'him' - the two words are homophones: see also him - hymn) is a song in praise of God. It is usually intended to be sung in church, as part of a religious service: but hymns can be sung anywhere.

The verb 'to hymn' means 'to sing the praises of', 'to sing hymns to' God. There is a figurative use in addition, where admirers of someone can be said to 'hymn her (or his) praises'.

A hymnal - the 'n' is sounded, IPA: /'hɪm nəl/ - is a book containing the words (and sometimes the music) of hymns. A hymnal may also be referred to as a hymn book.

The English word 'hymn' comes through the Latin hymnus from the Greek ὕμνος (hymnos, a hymn or ode in praise of gods or heroes).

Beware the trap that exists with another group of letters, the initials H.Y.M.S., which stands for the Hull and York Medical School. This is the institution set up by the universities of Hull and York in association with the National Health Service for the education of medical doctors and surgeons.