[ lilt ]
See synonyms for: liltliltedlilting on

  1. rhythmic swing or cadence.

  2. a lilting song or tune.

verb (used with or without object)
  1. to sing or play in a light, tripping, or rhythmic manner.

Origin of lilt

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English verb lilte, lulte “to sound an alarm; lift up (one's voice)”; perhaps akin to Dutch, Low German lul “pipe,” lullen “to lull,” Norwegian lilla “to sing,” of imitative origin

Other words from lilt

  • lilt·ing·ly, adverb
  • lilt·ing·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use lilt in a sentence

  • And at the merry lilting of it Bibbs's father's son took heart to forget some of his trepidation.

    The Turmoil | Booth Tarkington
  • Suddenly the melody changed to a glad little lilting measure, as sweet as love itself.

  • Then she strode on with a lilting joy, humming a song and putting her horse to his paces to keep up with her.

    What Will People Say? | Rupert Hughes
  • As she spoke the doors at the end of the dancing-hall opened, and the musicians in the gallery began to play a lilting strain.

    A German Pompadour | Marie Hay

British Dictionary definitions for lilt


/ (lɪlt) /

  1. (in music) a jaunty rhythm

  2. a buoyant motion

  1. (of a melody) to have a lilt

  2. to move in a buoyant manner

Origin of lilt

C14 lulten, origin obscure

Derived forms of lilt

  • lilting, adjective

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