c. 1500, imnale, himnale, "hymn-book," from Medieval Latin hymnale (n.), from ymnus, from Latin hymnus "song of praise" (see hymn). As an adjective, "of or pertaining to hymns," attested from 1640s.
Hymnal measure (a quatrain, usually iambic, alternately rhymed) is so called for being the preferred verse form for English hymns (such as "Amazing Grace"). It has been popular in English secular poetry as well, "though it almost always suggests the hymn, directly or ironically" [Miller Williams, "Patterns of Poetry," 1986].
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