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[lir-ik] /ˈlɪr ɪk/
adjective, Also, lyrical
(of poetry) having the form and musical quality of a song, and especially the character of a songlike outpouring of the poet's own thoughts and feelings, as distinguished from epic and dramatic poetry.
pertaining to or writing lyric poetry:
a lyric poet.
characterized by or expressing spontaneous, direct feeling:
a lyric song; lyric writing.
pertaining to, rendered by, or employing singing.
(of a voice) relatively light of volume and modest in range:
a lyric soprano.
pertaining, adapted, or sung to the lyre, or composing poems to be sung to the lyre:
ancient Greek lyric odes.
a lyric poem.
Often, lyrics. the words of a song.
Origin of lyric
1575-85; < Latin lyricus < Greek lyrikós. See lyre, -ic
Related forms
lyrically, adverb
lyricalness, noun
nonlyric, adjective
nonlyrical, adjective
nonlyrically, adverb
nonlyricalness, noun
semilyric, adjective
semilyrical, adjective
semilyrically, adverb
unlyric, adjective
unlyrical, adjective
unlyrically, adverb
unlyricalness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lyric
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From the beginning to the end of his career he was as much a lyric poet as a dramatist.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • "Hamlet," on the other hand, is almost a lyric; there is no counterpoise to the student-prince.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • In considering it we should come to an understanding of the nature of lyric, the purpose of this essay.

    The Lyric John Drinkwater
  • Such a poem must have its own immortality in lyric literature.

    Italy, the Magic Land Lilian Whiting
  • He wrote a thesis on the lyric poetry of our country comparing it with that of Europe.

    My Reminiscences Rabindranath Tagore
British Dictionary definitions for lyric


(of poetry)
  1. expressing the writer's personal feelings and thoughts
  2. having the form and manner of a song
of or relating to such poetry
(of music) having songlike qualities
(of a singing voice) having a light quality and tone
intended for singing, esp (in classical Greece) to the accompaniment of the lyre
a short poem of songlike quality
(pl) the words of a popular song
Also (for senses 1–4) lyrical
Derived Forms
lyrically, adverb
lyricalness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin lyricus, from Greek lurikos, from luralyre
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 lyric

"a lyric poem," 1580s, from Middle French lyrique "short poem expressing personal emotion," from Latin lyricus "of or for the lyre," from Greek lyrikos "singing to the lyre," from lyra (see lyre). Meaning "words of a popular song" is first recorded 1876. Related: lyrics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lyric in Culture

lyric definition

A kind of poetry, generally short, characterized by a musical use of language. Lyric poetry often involves the expression of intense personal emotion. The elegy, the ode, and the sonnet are forms of the lyric poem.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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