• synonyms


[lahyuh r]
  1. a musical instrument of ancient Greece consisting of a soundbox made typically from a turtle shell, with two curved arms connected by a yoke from which strings are stretched to the body, used especially to accompany singing and recitation.
  2. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Lyra.
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Origin of lyre

1175–1225; Middle English lire < Latin lyra < Greek lýra
Can be confusedliar lyre
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lyre


  1. an ancient Greek stringed instrument consisting of a resonating tortoise shell to which a crossbar was attached by two projecting arms. It was plucked with a plectrum and used for accompanying songs
  2. any ancient instrument of similar design
  3. a medieval bowed instrument of the violin family
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Word Origin

C13: via Old French from Latin lyra, from Greek lura
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 lyre


harp-like instrument, c.1200, from Old French lire "lyre," from Latin lyra, from Greek lyra, a foreign word of uncertain origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper