• lyric
  • audio pronunciation
  • \LEER-ik\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

1
: suitable for singing : melodic
2
: expressing direct usually intense personal emotion
  • EXAMPLES

The critics are praising Jessica's debut novel as a lyric masterpiece that bravely lays out the emotional tensions experienced by its young protagonist.

"Virtually all of Big Jim’s lyric digressions were on writers. When Big Jim talked about Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman or whomever, he spoke and we listened and learned." — Frank Clancy, Savannah Morning News, September 23, 2014

  • DID YOU KNOW?

To the ancient Greeks, anything lyrikos was appropriate to the lyre. That elegant stringed instrument was highly regarded by the Greeks and was used to accompany intensely personal poetry that revealed the thoughts and feelings of the poet. When the adjective lyric, a descendant of lyrikos, was adopted into English in the 1500s, it too referred to things pertaining or adapted to the lyre. Initially, it was applied to poetic forms (such as elegies, odes, or sonnets) that expressed strong emotion, to poets who wrote such works, or to things that were meant to be sung; over time, it was extended to anything musical or rhapsodic. Nowadays, lyric is also used as a noun naming either a type of poem or the words of a song.

Test Your Vocabulary: Fill in the blanks to create a word for a medieval short lyrical poem: m _ _ r _ g _ l. The answer is …

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