Songs without words

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Apr 24 09:07:25 UTC 2010

For "song," the AHD4 has "a brief composition written or adapted for singing."

I personally use the word "song" to mean a musical composition without words, such as Pachelbel's Canon in D even though I have a sense that songs should have sung lyrics.

The AHD4 meaning therefore seems prescriptive in a way that does not reflect common usage.

Although someone subjective, my Mac dictionary does well at walking this thin line with an additional definition: a musical composition suggestive of a song.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society -

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