What’s the Opposite of ‘Ode’?

A few weeks ago, I wrote an ‘Ode to a Snow Day.’ I looked up googled the word ode before I wrote it, to make sure I was using it correctly.  I found that it is a poem that is written for an occasion or on a particular subject.  I also found: an ode is a poem in praise of a person,  place or object that is usually identified in the title.  That suited my purposes.  But today I am home sick, so I started wondering, what’s the opposite of an ode? The first thing I thought of was dirge, but you usually hear that word together with funeral, and happily that doesn’t quite apply. Yet.

I first went to thesaurus.com.  My teaching partner and I like to use this sometimes when we are putting together an email to send out to our grade level.  We like to replace as many words as we can with big, fancy words.  It cracks us up, but then we worry that the recipients won’t be as amused, and we change it back.  Remember when Ross showed Joey how to use the thesaurus on his computer on ‘Friends‘?  He was writing a letter of recommendation for Chandler and Monica’s adoption and was worried about sounding smart.  So he ended up replacing every single word with a word from the thesaurus:

Monica: It doesn’t make any sense.

Joey: Of course it does. It’s smart! I used a thesaurus!

Chandler: On every word?

Joey: Yep.

Monica: All right, what was this sentence, originally?

Joey: Oh. “They’re warm, nice people with big hearts.”

Chandler: And that became, “They’re humid, pre-possessing homo sapiens with full-sized aortic pumps?”

I have my doubts that Joey would actually remember what any particular sentence said before he changed the words, but that point is moo*.  It was funny.  In my case, the thesaurus wasn’t much help either.  The closest I came to an opposite for ode was prose, which really is the opposite of poetry.  Prose is ordinary written language without metrical or rhythmic structure.  That really wasn’t what I was looking for, although here I am writing in prose!  So I googled ‘what is the opposite of ode?’  One item sounded promising:  What’s the opposite of ode? Here’s a list of words you may be looking for.  So I click on the link and under the title What’s the opposite of ode?  I find the amazingly helpful No words found.  Awesome.  The next few links I clicked were actually blogs with posts titled “What’s the Opposite of an Ode?”  To which mine will now be added.  Not much help there.  Changing tack, I decide to look up dirge.  A dirge is a somber song expressing mourning or grief, such as would be appropriate for performance at a funeral. A lament.  That is straight from Wikipedia, so it must be right.  (Actually, I’ve found Wikipedia to be fairly informative on various matters.  I would never use it as my only source, but it can be useful.)

I could write a sick-day dirge, but now I’m too tired.  It is time to go back to bed and watch last night’s Project Runway All Stars and then go back to sleep.  Good night!

*Not a mistake, just another Joey-ism, as in “It’s like a cow’s opinion.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s moo.”



  1. Andre

    Thank you for the F.R.I.E.N.D.S references. I love you for that.

  2. Richard Sexton

    It’s always amazing when I discover how many other people have tried to look up something that I have: like what’s the opposite of ode. I was wanting to do an anti-ode to winter. So I opted for a” commode ” to winter. It rhymes and immediately states my feeling toward this particular years weather. rasexton2@yahoo.com

  3. This gave me a much needed smile.

  4. I was looking up the opposite to an ode, too! I didn’t find anything yet. I want to write the opposite of an ode to TO DO lists.

  5. Try a threnode, coronach or lament.

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