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lithe

[lahyth]
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adjective, lith·er, lith·est.
  1. bending readily; pliant; limber; supple; flexible: the lithe body of a ballerina.
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Also lithe·some [lahyth-suh m] /ˈlaɪð səm/.

Origin of lithe

before 900; Middle English lith(e), Old English līthe; cognate with Old Saxon līthi, German lind “mild,” Latin lentus “slow”
Related formslithe·ly, adverblithe·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

suppleagilenimbleslimlimberleanlissomeloosepliablepliantslightsparethinlightsome

Examples from the Web for lithe

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He got to his feet with lithe swiftness of movement, and sprang close to the desk.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • She was a lithe, strong woman, taller than he, or else she would have fallen.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • She struck him, kicked and twisted with all her splendid, lithe strength, but it was in vain.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • She was in riding costume and was bending a lithe whip in her gloved hands.

  • There was a lithe alertness in the woman that puzzled Lenyard.

    Melomaniacs

    James Huneker


British Dictionary definitions for lithe

lithe

adjective
  1. flexible or supple
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Derived Formslithely, adverblitheness, noun

Word Origin

Old English (in the sense: gentle; C15: supple); related to Old High German lindi soft, Latin lentus slow
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 lithe

adj.

Old English liðe "soft, mild, gentle, meek," from Proto-Germanic *linthja- (cf. Old Saxon lithi "soft, mild, gentle," Old High German lindi, German lind, Old Norse linr, with characteristic loss of "n" before "th" in English), from PIE root *lent- "flexible" (cf. Latin lentus "flexible, pliant, slow," Sanskrit lithi). In Middle English, used of the weather. Current sense of "easily flexible" is from c.1300. Related: Litheness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper