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See more synonyms for lilt on Thesaurus.com
  1. rhythmic swing or cadence.
  2. a lilting song or tune.
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to sing or play in a light, tripping, or rhythmic manner.
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Origin of lilt

1300–50; Middle English lulte; perhaps akin to Dutch lul pipe, lullen to lull
Related formslilt·ing·ly, adverblilt·ing·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for lilted

warble, trill, sound, lilt, tweet, quaver, roll, pipe, call, sing, twitter, chip, tweedle, chirrup, purl, chipper

Examples from the Web for lilted

Historical Examples of lilted

  • She put a damper on the sudden enthusiasm that lilted into his voice.

    The Fighting Edge

    William MacLeod Raine

  • He lilted a swaying air, and whirled her round the room with gipsy glee.

    The Nest Builder

    Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale

  • He sat up with alert ears, and lilted suspiciously to a distance.

    Lives of the Fur Folk

    M. D. Haviland

  • Madelon saw him as she lilted, and it seemed to her that she heard what he said.


    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

  • She thought that Burr was there, and she lilted more loudly the Virginia reel.


    Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

British Dictionary definitions for lilted


  1. (in music) a jaunty rhythm
  2. a buoyant motion
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verb (intr)
  1. (of a melody) to have a lilt
  2. to move in a buoyant manner
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Derived Formslilting, adjective

Word Origin for lilt

C14 lulten, origin obscure
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 lilted



1510s, "to lift up" (the voice), probably from late 14c. West Midlands dialect lulten "to sound an alarm," of unknown origin. Possible relatives include Norwegian lilla "to sing" and Low German lul "pipe." It is possible that the whole loose group is imitative. Sense of "sing in a light manner" is first recorded 1786. Related: Lilted; lilting. As a noun, 1728, "lilting song," from the verb. As "rhythmical cadence," 1840.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper