\ 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 An exile from Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Azaceta has long translated human events into pictures whose themes are universal but whose style has a Caribbean lilt. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 28 June 2022 His words caught fire, roared, ready to move people in unison with the memorable lilt of meter and alliteration. Susan J. Wolfson, The Atlantic, 18 June 2022 His ball cap is pulled down low, his encouragements uttered softly with a Southern lilt. New York Times, 14 Apr. 2022 With a distinct island lilt, pelau melds the rice preparations adored in the East with indigenous ingredients and African cookery processes that took root in the Caribbean during the transatlantic slave trade. Bon Appétit, 17 Mar. 2022 Hilda’s creation is as spectacular as any Nudie suit, perhaps even more beautiful for its handmade flourishes—the lilt of Hilda’s stitching, the black piping. Amanda Petrusich, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2022 The Birmingham accent is replaced with Murphy's natural Irish lilt. Samantha Highfill,, 21 Feb. 2022 That gives it a modern lilt and a fun reason to keep coming back to it as a daily driver. Brittany Vincent, BGR, 4 Feb. 2022 His voice has a jazzy lilt and the swagger of that era. Matthew J. Palm,, 16 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Elegant and complex with a unique Cabernet Franc lilt that provide the mysterious Angel in the Bottle of Croix de Labrie. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 22 May 2022 And so many of his ideas are inspired, like adding the forlorn country lilt of an accordionist (Veli Kujala) to the scene in which Hamlet corrals a traveling troupe of actors to put on an evocation of his father’s murder. New York Times, 15 May 2022 With her band members backing her up, Ballerini shows her voice to be well-suited for the song, never exactly imitating the rock icon’s inflections but instead adding a bit of her own East Tennessee lilt to the mix. Jon Freeman, Rolling Stone, 2 July 2021 The strings lilt and wail until Zauner begins shredding, like the notes can’t come out of her fast enough. Justin Curto, Vulture, 4 June 2021 Jones speaks in a deep baritone, her Robeson County lilt adding bounce and verve to the words. Isabel Spiegel, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Oct. 2020 Friedman has matched that sensibility here with songs that slide from lilting, gaslight-era melodiousness into a jagged, more contemporary anxiety. Ben Brantley, New York Times, 9 Mar. 2020 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, 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,, 5 Mar. 2020 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

1 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lilt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for lilt


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

Kids Definition of lilt

: to sing or play in a lively cheerful manner

More from Merriam-Webster on lilt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lilt

Nglish: Translation of lilt for Spanish Speakers


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