Lit"a*ny (?), n.; pl. Litanies (#). [OE. letanie, OF. letanie, F. litanie, L. litania, Gr. , fr. to pray, akin to , , to pray, prayer.]
A solemn form of supplication in the public worship of various churches, in which the clergy and congregation join, the former leading and the latter responding in alternate sentences. It is usually of a penitential character.
Supplications . . . for the appeasing of God's wrath were of the Greek church termed litanies, and rogations of the Latin.
© Webster 1913.