This was brought up in another thread, but I think it makes a good thread on its own. If one looks in practically any dictionary or encyclopedia, he is likely to find a terse definition on the order of "song of praise to a deity." Some say that an hymn is any religious song, and fewer say that the word "hymn" not only describes content, but form as well. I'm one of those few. The reasons: 1)Practically every commentator agrees that psalms, hymns and spiritual songs were descriptive of styles. 2)"Hymn" is a Greek word, and until late in their history it described a certain style of song. Paeans and dithyrambs were also songs of praise to deities, but they weren't hymns. 3)The use of the term in Scripture is in context of solemnity. An hymn is praise to God in a style marked by gravity and sobriety. Nothing remotely boisterous or wildly exuberant can be classified as an hymn.