verb (used with object)

to reject or cast aside (a lover or sweetheart), especially abruptly or unfeelingly.


a woman who jilts a lover.

Origin of jilt

1650–60; earlier jilt harlot, syncopated variant of jillet
Related formsjilt·er, nounun·jilt·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jilt

Historical Examples of jilt

  • It means, jilt Miss Nicotine in haste, and repent at leisure.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • The staid sober lover—let him take care the pretty Clara does not jilt him.

    Frank Fairlegh

    Frank E. Smedley

  • She could not jilt him; there was something vulgar in the word!

    The Island Pharisees

    John Galsworthy

  • Katherine to jilt Mr. Odd, and you so dangerously ill, Hilda.

    The Dull Miss Archinard

    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

  • Put your hat straight, fan your eyes, and tell me all about this jilt of yours.

British Dictionary definitions for jilt



(tr) to leave or reject (a lover), esp without previous warningshe was jilted at the altar


a woman who jilts a lover
Derived Formsjilter, noun

Word Origin for jilt

C17: from dialect jillet flighty girl, diminutive of proper name Gill
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 jilt

"to deceive (especially after holding out hopes), cheat, trick," 1660s, from the same source as jilt (n.). Related: Jilted; jilting.


1670s, "loose, unchaste woman; harlot;" also "woman who gives hope then dashes it," perhaps ultimately from Middle English gille "lass, wench," a familiar or contemptuous term for a woman or girl (mid-15c.), originally a shortened form of woman's name Gillian (see Jill).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper