litany • \LIH-tuh-nee\ • noun
1 : a prayer consisting of a series of invocations and supplications by the leader with alternate responses by the congregation
2 a : a resonant or repetitive chant
b : a usually lengthy recitation or enumeration
c : a sizable series or set
The student offered the usual litany of excuses for being late.
Did you know?
“Litany” came to English through Anglo-French and Late Latin, and ultimately from the Greek word “litaneia,” meaning “entreaty.” A “litany” refers literally to a type of prayer in which a series of lines are spoken alternately by a leader and a congregation. Recent decades have seen the development of three figurative senses. The chant-like quality of a literal litany led to the “repetitive chant” sense. Next, the repetitious nature of the original litany led to the “lengthy recitation” sense. Finally, the “lengthy recitation” sense led to the meaning “a sizable series or set.”