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90s Slang You Should Know


[lilt] /lɪlt/
rhythmic swing or cadence.
a lilting song or tune.
verb (used with or without object)
to sing or play in a light, tripping, or rhythmic manner.
Origin of lilt
1300-50; Middle English lulte; perhaps akin to Dutch lul pipe, lullen to lull
Related forms
liltingly, adverb
liltingness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lilt
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The radiance of her face, the lilt of her voice, stabbed me with a jealous pang.

    The Firefly Of France Marion Polk Angellotti
  • Through the window came to him the lilt of the fresh young voice.

    The Fighting Edge William MacLeod Raine
  • Over the breakfast which followed, the picnic spirit still presided, though by now it was beginning to lose a little of the lilt.

    Stranded in Arcady Francis Lynde
  • Perhaps it was the lilt of a Gaelic song in these pages that brought a sorrow on me.

    The Wind Bloweth Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne
  • He began to whistle very softly and sweetly—the scamp had a pipe like any bird—the lilt of a love-song.

    The Serf Guy Thorne
  • He couldn't understand the song, though the lilt of the words captured him.

    The Wind Bloweth Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne
British Dictionary definitions for lilt


(in music) a jaunty rhythm
a buoyant motion
verb (intransitive)
(of a melody) to have a lilt
to move in a buoyant manner
Derived Forms
lilting, adjective
Word Origin
C14 lulten, origin obscure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lilt

1510s, "to lift up" (the voice), probably from late 14c. West Midlands dialect lulten "to sound an alarm," of unknown origin. Possible relatives include Norwegian lilla "to sing" and Low German lul "pipe." It is possible that the whole loose group is imitative. Sense of "sing in a light manner" is first recorded 1786. Related: Lilted; lilting. As a noun, 1728, "lilting song," from the verb. As "rhythmical cadence," 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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