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See more synonyms for lithe on Thesaurus.com
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

Examples from the Web for lithesome

Historical Examples

  • Her drawings were replete with lithesome curves; so, too, was her literary style.

    Local Color

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • He was as lithesome as an Indian, and could outdo him in some physical efforts and endurance.

  • She wore a gown of shimmering white which clung to her lithesome figure in soft folds.

    Bee and Butterfly

    Lucy Foster Madison

  • The long, yellow wave curled inwards from both flanks, the men going forward with quick, lithesome steps.

  • He saw another trading Post, and a fair, lithesome form walking up the trail, and humming catches of an old song.

British Dictionary definitions for lithesome


  1. a less common word for lissom
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Word Origin

C18: from lithe + -some 1


  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 lithesome


1768, from lithe + -some (1). Related: Lithesomely; lithesomeness.

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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