- to improvise all or part of (a speech, a piece of music, etc.): to ad-lib one's lines.
- to act, speak, etc., without preparation: Throughout the play he had to ad-lib constantly.
- impromptu; extemporaneous: ad-lib remarks to hecklers.
Origin of ad-lib
1915–20, Americanism; v. use of ad lib
[ad lib, ad]
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for ad-lib
They told me to forget the script because I was going to have to ad-lib everything.Charlie Brotman, Announcer of Presidential Inaugurals Since Truman’s
January 17, 2013
- to improvise and deliver without preparation (a speech, musical performance, etc)
- improvised; impromptu
- without restraint; freely
- music short for ad libitum
- an improvised performance, often humorous
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
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
- 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.