noun \ˈlī(-ə)r\

: a musical instrument with strings that was used especially in ancient Greece

Full Definition of LYRE

:  a stringed instrument of the harp class having an approximately U-shaped frame and used by the ancient Greeks especially to accompany song and recitation
capitalized :  lyra

Illustration of LYRE

Origin of LYRE

Middle English lire, from Anglo-French, from Latin lyra, from Greek
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue

Rhymes with LYRE


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

East African bowl lyre; in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford—Courtesy of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

Stringed musical instrument consisting of a resonating body with two arms and a crossbar to which the strings extending from the resonator are attached. Lyrelike instruments existed in Sumer before 2000 BC. Greek lyres were of two types, the kithara and the lyra. The latter had a rounded body and a curved back—often a tortoiseshell—and a skin belly. It was the instrument of the amateur; professionals used the more elaborate kithara. In ancient Greece the lyre was an attribute of Apollo and symbolized wisdom and moderation. In medieval Europe new varieties of lyre emerged that, like the kithara, were box lyres, although their precise relation to the lyres of Classical antiquity is not known. The lyres of modern East Africa probably reflect ancient diffusion of the instrument via Egypt.


Next Word in the Dictionary: lyre–back
Previous Word in the Dictionary: lyraway
All Words Near: lyre

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up lyre? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).