\ˈlīt͟h, ˈlīth \

Definition of lithe 

1 : easily bent or flexed lithe steel a lithe vine

2 : characterized by easy flexibility and grace a lithe dancer treading with a lithe silent step also : athletically slim the most lithe and graspable of waists — R. P. Warren

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Other Words from lithe

lithely adverb
litheness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for lithe


bony (also boney), fatless, lean, skinny, slender, slim, spare, svelte, thin


chubby, corpulent, fat, obese, overweight, plump, portly, rotund, tubby

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Examples of lithe in a Sentence

the lithe body of a dancer the lithe blade of a fencing foil

Recent Examples on the Web

Played by a man, the commanding and lithe Llewellyn Mnguni, the character is a Sangoma — a traditional South African healer. Gia Kourlas, New York Times, "Review: A Reimagined ‘Giselle,’ With South African Roots," 4 Apr. 2018 Her compositions are unique, lithe and often based on classic literature, among them works by John Steinbeck, Herman Melville and Herodotus. Martin Johnson, WSJ, "‘Close Up’ Review: Breaking New Ground," 13 Mar. 2018 But, as the Washington Post reports, their cult followings can be unwelcoming to people of color and those who aren’t young and lithe. Aubrey Nagle,, "Ending cash bail in Philly, new school board nominees, more bike lanes for Center City | Morning Newsletter," 19 Mar. 2018 Wilkins is a Swiss army knife; Lawrence is a space-eater unnaturally lithe for his frame; Ferrell and Bryant are the sack artists. Chris Johnson And Eric Single,, "Inside SI's Top 100 Players of 2018: Settling Debates and Predicting Our Biggest Misses," 25 June 2018 Maybe the immense playmaking load Young had to carry finally took its toll on a lithe physique that has supposedly added 11 pounds since the end of the season. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Projecting point guard Trae Young isn't easy. But NBA teams seem to be overthinking it.," 13 June 2018 The concept felt heavy, but minus 1,100 pounds, the production car should be lithe and wickedly fast. Tom Voelk, New York Times, "Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo Review: ‘Silence Is the New Power’," 6 June 2018 Chang is a lithe 6-foot-8, 210-pound wing with deadly and deep shooting range, drawing comparisons to Tony Snell, who played against the Aztecs at New Mexico and now plies his trade for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Mark Zeigler,, "SDSU basketball gets commitment from 6-8 sharpshooter," 10 June 2018 First, let’s state the obvious: The lithe, lean build of a top model is a matter of hereditary luck, the result of a genetic supernova. Elizabeth Inglese, Vogue, "Eat Like a Supermodel! 5 Healthy Food Plans Behind the World’s Best Bodies," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lithe.' 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 lithe

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lithe

Middle English, from Old English līthe gentle; akin to Old High German lindi gentle, Latin lentus slow

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Statistics for lithe

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for lithe

The first known use of lithe was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of lithe

: moving in an easy and graceful way


\ˈlīt͟h, ˈlīth\

Kids Definition of lithe

: limber entry 1, supple But his motions remained lithe and natural, as he moved easily among trees and shade.— Virginia Hamilton, M. C. Higgins

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