[ ad-lib, ad- ]
/ ædˈlɪb, ˈæd- /

verb (used with object), ad-libbed, ad-lib·bing.

to improvise all or part of (a speech, a piece of music, etc.): to ad-lib one's lines.

verb (used without object), ad-libbed, ad-lib·bing.

to act, speak, etc., without preparation: Throughout the play he had to ad-lib constantly.


impromptu; extemporaneous: ad-lib remarks to hecklers.

Nearby words

  1. ad valorem tax,
  2. ad verbum,
  3. ad vitam,
  4. ad vivum,
  5. ad-,
  6. ad.,
  7. ada,
  8. ada deficiency,
  9. adabazar,
  10. adactylous

Origin of ad-lib

1915–20, Americanism; v. use of ad lib

Related formsad-lib·ber, noun

ad lib

[ ad lib, ad ]
/ æd ˈlɪb, ˈæd /


something improvised in speech, music, etc.: Was that joke part of your speech or an ad lib?


at one's pleasure; without restriction.
freely; as needed; without stint: Water can be given to the patients ad lib.

Origin of ad lib

First recorded in 1810–20; see origin at ad libitum

ad lib. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ad-lib

British Dictionary definitions for ad-lib
Derived Formsad-libber, noun

Word Origin for ad-lib

C18: short for Latin ad libitum, literally: according to pleasure

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

Word Origin and History for ad-lib

ad lib

1811, shortened from Latin ad libitum "at one's pleasure, as much as one likes" (c.1600), from libere "to please" (see libido). First recorded as one word 1919 (v.), 1925 (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for ad-lib

ad lib.


ad libitum (freely, as desired)

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.