Hymn with a refrain; usually the chief poem in the scheme of seliḥot sung or recited by the cantor and congregation in alternation. Of the many etymological derivations suggested for the word, "psalm" (Greek, Ψαλμός) seems the most likely. Others which have been offered find the origin of the word in the Aramaic (lamentation), the Hebrew (treasure; comp. ), the Greek ποίημα (poem), or the French "passementerie" or German "posamentir" (embroidery).
Among the Sephardim any important hymn, in parts of the service other than the seliḥot, constructed in metrical stanzas with a refrain, is termed a pizmon. Such, for example, are Aḥot Ḳeṭannah and 'Et Sha'are Raẓon. These and others like them are distinguished by a special traditional melody. This is also the case with the chief pizmonim of the Ashkenazim (comp. Bemoẓa'e Menuḥah; Yisrael Nosha'; Zekor Berit); but several are chanted to a general melody for such poems, for which see Seliḥah.
On the use of the word "pizmon" among the Jews of South Arabia, see "Berliner Festschrift," p. 12.
- Aruch Completum, ed. Kohut, s.v. , where valuable material is given.