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See more synonyms for stilt on Thesaurus.com
  1. one of two poles, each with a support for the foot at some distance above the bottom end, enabling the wearer to walk with his or her feet above the ground.
  2. one of several posts supporting a structure built above the surface of land or water.
  3. Ceramics. a three-armed support for an object being fired.
  4. any of several white-and-black wading birds, especially Cladorhynchus leucocephalus and Himantopus himantopus, having long, bright pink legs and a long, slender black bill.
  5. British Dialect.
    1. a plow handle.
    2. a crutch.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to raise on or as if on stilts.
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Origin of stilt

1275–1325; Middle English stilte; cognate with Low German stilte pole, German Stelze
Related formsstilt·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for stilt

rangy, gangly, spindly, gaunt, slender, scrawny, angular, sinewy, lanky, slim, sparse, skinny, svelte, wiry, fragile, lean, meager, delicate, small, narrow

Examples from the Web for stilt

Historical Examples of stilt

  • For the glaze firing the tile should be placed flat on the stilt.

    The Library of Work and Play: Home Decoration

    Charles Franklin Warner

  • In this style of stilt (Type A, Plate 41) the uprights are held beneath the arm pits.

    Toy Craft

    Leon H. Baxter

  • But he said he would do his best to run out the remainder on a stilt.

  • The speed that the stilt walkers attain is easily explained.

  • That of St. Basil, which is stilt retained by the Oriental monks; 2.

British Dictionary definitions for stilt


  1. either of a pair of two long poles with footrests on which a person stands and walks, as used by circus clowns
  2. a long post or column that is used with others to support a building above ground level
  3. any of several shore birds of the genera Himantopus and Cladorhynchus, similar to the avocets but having a straight bill
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  1. (tr) to raise or place on or as if on stilts
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Word Origin for stilt

C14 (in the sense: crutch, handle of a plough): related to Low German stilte pole, Norwegian stilta
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 stilt


early 14c., "a crutch," from Proto-Germanic *steltijon (cf. Middle Low German, Middle Dutch stelte "stilt," Old High German stelza "plow handle, crutch"), from PIE root *stel- "to put, stand" (see stall (n.1)). Application to "wooden poles for walking across marshy ground, etc." is from mid-15c. Meaning "one of the posts on which a building is raised from the ground" is first attested 1690s. Stilted in the figurative sense of "pompous, stuffy" is first recorded 1820.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper