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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 lilting

melodic, rhythmic, passionate, rhapsodic, soulful, emotional, expressive, lilting, choral, operatic, symphonic, vocal, warble, trill, sweet, consonant, pleasing, melodious, blending, sound

Examples from the Web for lilting

Contemporary Examples of lilting

Historical Examples of lilting

British Dictionary definitions for lilting


  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 lilting



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