See more synonyms for tilt on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to lean, incline, slope, or slant.
  2. to rush at or charge, as in a joust.
  3. to hold poised for attack, as a lance.
  4. to move (a camera) up or down on its vertical axis for photographing or televising a moving character, object, or the like.
verb (used without object)
  1. to move into or assume a sloping position or direction.
  2. to strike, thrust, or charge with a lance or the like (usually followed by at).
  3. to engage in a joust, tournament, or similar contest.
  4. (of a camera) to move on its vertical axis: The camera tilts downward for an overhead shot.
  5. to incline in opinion, feeling, etc.; lean: She's tilting toward the other candidate this year.
  1. an act or instance of tilting.
  2. the state of being tilted; a sloping position.
  3. a slope.
  4. a joust or any other contest.
  5. a dispute; controversy.
  6. a thrust of a weapon, as at a tilt or joust.
  7. (in aerial photography) the angle formed by the direction of aim of a camera and a perpendicular to the surface of the earth.
  1. (at) full tilt. full tilt.
  2. tilt at windmills, to contend against imaginary opponents or injustices.Also fight with windmills.

Origin of tilt

1300–50; Middle English tylten to upset, tumble < Scandinavian; compare dialectal Norwegian tylta to tiptoe, tylten unsteady; akin to Old English tealt unsteady, tealtian to totter, amble, Middle Dutch touteren to sway
Related formstilt·a·ble, adjectivetilt·er, noun


  1. a cover of coarse cloth, canvas, etc., as for a wagon.
  2. an awning.
verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish with a tilt.

Origin of tilt

1400–50; late Middle English, variant of tild, Old English teld; cognate with German Zelt tent, Old Norse tjald tent, curtain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tilt

Contemporary Examples of tilt

Historical Examples of tilt

  • Yet he can tilt or play his part at hand-strokes as merrily as ever.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • I understand that all right, but I am still in the dark as to what is causing this increase of tilt.

    The Solar Magnet

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

  • There was a momentous promise in his gravity, a hint of catastrophe in the tilt of his head.

  • As anticipated, the tilt had been rifled of its contents, chiefly flour and pork.

    The Gaunt Gray Wolf

    Dillon Wallace

  • The tilt itself, however, had not been burned, and was otherwise undisturbed.

    The Gaunt Gray Wolf

    Dillon Wallace

British Dictionary definitions for tilt


  1. to incline or cause to incline at an angle
  2. (usually intr) to attack or overthrow (a person or people) in a tilt or joust
  3. (when intr, often foll by at) to aim or thrustto tilt a lance
  4. (tr) to work or forge with a tilt hammer
  1. a slope or angleat a tilt
  2. the act of tilting
  3. (esp in medieval Europe)
    1. a jousting contest
    2. a thrust with a lance or pole delivered during a tournament
  4. an attempt to win a contest
  5. See tilt hammer
  6. full tilt or at full tilt at full speed or force
Derived Formstilter, noun

Word Origin for tilt

Old English tealtian; related to Dutch touteren to totter, Norwegian tylta to tiptoe, tylten unsteady


  1. an awning or canopy, usually of canvas, for a boat, booth, etc
  1. (tr) to cover or provide with a tilt

Word Origin for tilt

Old English teld; related to Old High German zelt tent, Old Norse tjald tent
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 tilt

Old English *tyltan "to be unsteady," from tealt "unsteady," from Proto-Germanic *taltaz (cf. Old Norse tyllast "to trip," Swedish tulta "to waddle," Norwegian tylta "to walk on tip-toe," Middle Dutch touteren "to swing"). Meaning "to cause to lean, tip, slope" (1590s) is from sense of "push or fall over." Intransitive sense first recorded 1620s. Related: Tilted; tilting.


"a joust, a combat," 1510s, perhaps from tilt (v.) on the notion of "to lean" into an attack, but the word originally seems to have been the name of the barrier which separated the combatants, which suggests connection with tilt in an earlier meaning "covering of coarse cloth, an awning" (mid-15c.), which is probably from tilt (v.), but perhaps related to or influenced by tent, or it may be from a Germanic source akin to Old English beteldan "to cover." The verb is recorded from 1590s. Hence, also full tilt (c.1600).


"condition of being tilted," 1837, from tilt (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper