\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


bendy [chiefly British], flexible, limber, lissome (also lissom), lithesome, pliable, pliant, supple, willowy


inflexible, rigid, stiff, stiffened

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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

Musa, a lithe 6-9 small forward, is a streaky shooter who isn’t gun shy. Michael Singer, USA TODAY, "2018 NBA mock draft: Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic headline loaded class," 13 Mar. 2018 Apple’s lithe laptop was once ahead of the Windows pack, but now, front-runner HP Spectre x360, right, beats it on battery life and perks. Joanna Stern, WSJ, "New MacBook Air Review: Your Next Laptop Has Arrived (Three Years Late)," 6 Nov. 2018 Berlin’s ruins still smoldered as three Soviet military intelligence officers questioned a tall, lithe blonde in 1945. Fox News, "How the woman who identified Hitler's dental remains ended up in prison," 16 July 2018 The crowd is reliably diverse — with tables of women in hijab scarves one recent night happily munching through mezze beside some lithe young Fishtown daters in yoga chic and their manbuns pulled up tight. Craig Laban,, "Fishtown's Suraya is one of the most exciting new dining destinations of the year," 22 June 2018 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

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

18 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lithe

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

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More Definitions for lithe



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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More from Merriam-Webster on lithe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lithe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lithe

Spanish Central: Translation of lithe

Nglish: Translation of lithe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lithe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lithe

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


a knickknack or trinket

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