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 jilting

Historical Examples of jilting

  • For an instant, Laurent had the idea of not marrying at all, of jilting Therese.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • I suppose she did it to show she didn't mind Frederik's jilting her.'

  • Darling, I wonder if jilting runs in families like consumption and red faces.

    Dodo's Daughter

    E. F. Benson

  • "There is no question of jilting Lady Kitty," he answered steadily.

  • "There will be no jilting about the matter," replied Dr. Marsh irritably.

    A Woman's Burden

    Fergus Hume

British Dictionary definitions for jilting



(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 jilting



"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