• synonyms


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 for lither

supple, agile, nimble, slim, limber, lean, lissome, loose, pliable, pliant, slight, spare, thin, lightsome

Examples from the Web for lither

Historical Examples of lither

  • Kittites had need to be confident in the skill of their lither lad.

    The Amazing Marriage, Complete

    George Meredith

  • The birds were about the size of the hermit thrushes, but lither and suppler.

    Birds of the Rockies

    Leander Sylvester Keyser

  • Next beyond this manor of Ely house is Lither lane, turning into the field.

  • The jaygee, a couple of years younger and lither than he, slid out first from his own side.

    The Syndic

    C.M. Kornbluth

  • Lither is used sometimes for weak or limber, at other times lean or pale.

British Dictionary definitions for lither


  1. flexible or supple
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Derived Formslithely, adverblitheness, noun

Word Origin for lithe

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 lither



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