[ ad lib, ad ]
/ æd ˈlɪb, ˈæd /
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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.
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Origin of ad lib
First recorded in 1810–20; see origin at ad libitum
Other definitions for ad lib (2 of 3)
[ 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.
Origin of ad-lib
1915–20, Americanism; v. use of ad lib
OTHER WORDS FROM ad-libad-libber, noun
Other definitions for ad lib (3 of 3)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use ad lib in a sentence
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|Sandra McElwaine|January 17, 2013|DAILY BEAST
But the prince also proved he could warm up the weather with a clever ad lib.Prince Charles, BBC Weatherman & More Forecasts by Celebrities (Video)|The Daily Beast|May 11, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Now Guttentag encourages us to forget about the script and ad lib the scene.My All-Too-Brief Acting Career|Howard Kurtz|July 5, 2011|DAILY BEAST
I had a brilliant ad lib as I came to: “I think I passed out.”Pablo Schreiber on His New Off-Broadway Play|Kevin Sessums|February 1, 2011|DAILY BEAST
It consisted of a monologue delivered by the poisonous young woman to the macaw, occasionally varied by ad lib.The Book of Susan|Lee Wilson Dodd
This goes on ad lib., and we were soothed to sleep by those wild yells.The Land of the Black Mountain|Reginald Wyon
Even here, in an embarrassing situation calling for lines spoken ad lib.Sundry Accounts|Irvin S. Cobb
Well, you look here, my bloke: I'll have fizz ad lib., or it won't wash.The Ebb-Tide|Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyde Osbourne
"I needed a job awful bad," I answered sullenly, knowing it sounded like an ad lib.The Old Die Rich|Horace Leonard Gold
British Dictionary definitions for ad lib
/ (ædˈlɪb) /
verb -libs, -libbing or -libbed
to improvise and deliver without preparation (a speech, musical performance, etc)
adjective (ad lib when predicative)
adverb ad lib
without restraint; freely
music short for ad libitum
an improvised performance, often humorous
Derived forms of ad-libad-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