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I was searching for a suitable word for a piece of writing composed for speaking high of a pious man, such as a saint. I found one: encomium. Can we use the word 'encomium' for a piece of poetic writing praising a saint?

  • encomium can be used for any writing that praises someone. – Lambie Jul 29 at 22:22
  • So you mean poetry praising a saint? – Lambie Jul 29 at 22:40
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The word means a piece of writing that uncritically praises or glorifies someone or something. You could use it for a poem to praise or glorify a saint.

But be aware that this is an extremely rare word. Most native speakers (including me) will not know what it means, and would have to look it up in a dictionary.

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  • Encomium is a word a high-school student in the US might encounter in standardized university entrance tests. It's a word you are unlikely to see in the newspaper, but if you read books about poetry and literary history you'll definitely run into it sooner or later. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 26 '19 at 9:40
  • Searching google ngrams suggests it is almost only used in the context of classical (Greek and Latin) rhetoric. I doubt many sixth form students would come across this word. This may reflect differences in education between the UK and US. – James K Jan 26 '19 at 17:15
  • accolade, encomium, are definitely A level/SAT level words. No use trying to stir the AmE/BrE pot. – Lambie Jul 29 at 22:23
  • "accolade" is relatively common word. Encomium is exceedingly rare. I struggle to find an example of it used, except as the title of particular Greek or Latin poems, or parodies of them. I'd be interested if you can find a book that is suitable for 16-18 year old students that uses this word as a common noun. – James K Jul 29 at 22:49

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