adjective Also lyr·i·cal.


a lyric poem.
Often lyrics. the words of a song.

Origin of lyric

1575–85; < Latin lyricus < Greek lyrikós. See lyre, -ic
Related formslyr·i·cal·ly, adverblyr·i·cal·ness, nounnon·lyr·ic, adjectivenon·lyr·i·cal, adjectivenon·lyr·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·lyr·i·cal·ness, nounsem·i·lyr·ic, adjectivesem·i·lyr·i·cal, adjectivesem·i·lyr·i·cal·ly, adverbun·lyr·ic, adjectiveun·lyr·i·cal, adjectiveun·lyr·i·cal·ly, adverbun·lyr·i·cal·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lyric

Contemporary Examples of lyric

Historical Examples of lyric

  • "Hamlet," on the other hand, is almost a lyric; there is no counterpoise to the student-prince.

  • From the beginning to the end of his career he was as much a lyric poet as a dramatist.

  • In considering it we should come to an understanding of the nature of lyric, the purpose of this essay.

    The Lyric

    John Drinkwater

  • Such a poem must have its own immortality in lyric literature.

    Italy, the Magic Land

    Lilian Whiting

  • He wrote a thesis on the lyric poetry of our country comparing it with that of Europe.

    My Reminiscences

    Rabindranath Tagore

British Dictionary definitions for lyric



(of poetry)
  1. expressing the writer's personal feelings and thoughts
  2. having the form and manner of a song
of or relating to such poetry
(of music) having songlike qualities
(of a singing voice) having a light quality and tone
intended for singing, esp (in classical Greece) to the accompaniment of the lyre


a short poem of songlike quality
(plural) the words of a popular song
Also (for senses 1–4): lyrical
Derived Formslyrically, adverblyricalness, noun

Word Origin for lyric

C16: from Latin lyricus, from Greek lurikos, from lura lyre
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 lyric

"a lyric poem," 1580s, from Middle French lyrique "short poem expressing personal emotion," from Latin lyricus "of or for the lyre," from Greek lyrikos "singing to the lyre," from lyra (see lyre). Meaning "words of a popular song" is first recorded 1876. Related: lyrics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lyric in Culture


A kind of poetry, generally short, characterized by a musical use of language. Lyric poetry often involves the expression of intense personal emotion. The elegy, the ode, and the sonnet are forms of the lyric poem.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.