\ ˈlilt How to pronounce lilt (audio) \

Definition of lilt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a spirited and usually cheerful song or tune
2 : a rhythmical swing, flow, or cadence
3 : a springy buoyant movement


lilted; lilting; lilts

Definition of lilt (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to sing or play in a lively cheerful manner

intransitive verb

1 : to sing or speak rhythmically and with fluctuating pitch
2 : to move in a lively springy manner

Examples of lilt in a Sentence

Noun There was a charming lilt to her voice. a tune with a lilt
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Curreri ended his early verses with a surprising lilt, which gave depth to his wistfulness. Brendan Fitzgerald, Longreads, "“I miss my body when it was ferocious” The Transfiguration of Paul Curreri," 14 Mar. 2020 The Pau Pau brings a touch of citrus and the floral lilt of violette liqueur; the Abricot Bulles is like an Aperol spritz bolstered by its namesake fruit; and the Flowers of Boredom is a thick, orgeat-laced blend of pear and elderflower. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "What to know before you go to Josephine, Tuck Shop owner's new Roosevelt Row restaurant," 17 Jan. 2020 With lazy memories of warm-day picnics and warm-night quilts on the grass, family all around, the music lilts. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Gustavo Dudamel begins a new L.A. Phil season with no need for a gala," 4 Oct. 2019 Moody, Kilbride and Woody, joined by soprano Véronique Filloux, gave the choruses vocal lilt matching the musicians’ bounce. Washington Post, "Opera Lafayette shows political sycophancy, 17th-century style," 22 Nov. 2019 The British actor also says it with an old time-y lilt to his voice that makes it *chef’s kiss* perfect. Andrea Wurzburger,, "Out of Context, These Quotes From the Twilight Franchise Are Truly Wild," 21 Nov. 2019 This is music that bobs and bubbles with a gentle lilt. John Adamian,, "Reggae band Tribal Seeds playing Toad’s Place," 25 Oct. 2019 The son of a mechanic from Lower Bavaria, who betrays the region’s lilt in both English and German, has worked at Siemens for 40 years. The Economist, "Nobody said reforming Siemens was going to be easy," 19 Sep. 2019 Each time the motif returned, Williamson eloquently brought forth the lilt and nuances of an ancient culture. Howard Reich,, "Thursday’s CSO concert featured 2 debuts. One was impressive.," 10 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The witty script glitters with the couple’s duelling voice-over accounts of the way things happened; the effervescent score, by André Previn, seems to set their voices to lilting music as if in a virtual operetta. The New Yorker, "Quarantine Culture Recommendations: “Better Call Saul,” “Designing Woman,” and Kenneth Branagh," 2 Apr. 2020 Kitty’s voice is also much deeper and more powerful compared to Watson’s lilting, airy singing heard on the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. Ariana Brockington,, "Did We Just Figure Out Who The Elusive Kitty Is On The Masked Singer?," 5 Mar. 2020 Fans of Rogue Wave, Grizzly Bear, Belle and Sebastian, the Shins, and Apples in Stereo will enjoy this mellow, lilting pop. John Adamian,, "Summer Salt, bringing a sonic vacation to Webster Underground," 19 July 2019 Dave Bean Special to The Star Crystal Rose played lilting chamber-pop on the rooftop patio of Messenger Coffee. Bill Brownlee, kansascity, "Built to Spill, Social Distortion fittingly end great music day at Middle of the Map," 1 July 2018 Michael David Winery 2016 Lodi Chardonnay ($16): Here’s a chardonnay so fruity and lilting it invites gulping, but don’t. Mike Dunne, sacbee, "This year's best local wine you can (mostly) get for under $20," 20 June 2018 With his insatiable interest in pop culture, lilting accent and personality that's equal parts innocence and ignorance, Hank offers energetic comic relief in an increasingly dark comedy. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "You should know Anthony Carrigan, 'Gotham' villain turned Bill Hader's 'Barry' foil," 26 Apr. 2018 On the album, Mr. Sosa ornaments the space around Mr. Keita’s playing with lilting undercurrents and deftly studded terrain. New York Times, "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in NYC This Weekend," 15 Mar. 2018 On some days inside that glitzy office, the soundtrack to his view is Spotify, lilting Grateful Dead music. Dana Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Steve Simon: Deadhead, tree hugger, extremely private business whiz, Pacers heir," 4 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lilt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lilt


circa 1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1722, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for lilt


Middle English lulten to sound an alarm

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Time Traveler for lilt

Time Traveler

The first known use of lilt was circa 1680

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Statistics for lilt

Last Updated

13 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lilt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for lilt


How to pronounce lilt (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lilt

: the attractive quality of speech or music that rises and falls in a pleasing pattern


\ ˈlilt How to pronounce lilt (audio) \
lilted; lilting

Kids Definition of lilt

: to sing or play in a lively cheerful manner

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More from Merriam-Webster on lilt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lilt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lilt

Spanish Central: Translation of lilt

Nglish: Translation of lilt for Spanish Speakers

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