: easily bent or flexed
lithe steel
a lithe vine
: 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
lithely adverb
litheness noun

Examples of lithe in a Sentence

the lithe body of a dancer the lithe blade of a fencing foil
Recent Examples on the Web The group’s original emblem — a teal silhouette of a lithe dancer mid-leap — did not help. Maria Cramer, New York Times, 4 Jan. 2024 As rush-hour traffic bunches up, our lithe Ténéré 700 again slices through gridlock between lanes, showing the advantage of a slim, efficient motorcycle as urban transportation. Bill Roberson, Robb Report, 3 Jan. 2024 On the freeway, the Ténéré 700 is lithe and agile, and the roughly 60 hp is more than ample. Bill Roberson, Robb Report, 3 Jan. 2024 Mandy, a lithe, lifelong hiker, wanted to walk the forest that borders Slate Ridge—land owned by friends—to see if Banyai had demolished the schoolhouse, an order that was now more than two years old. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, 20 Dec. 2023 Watt’s icy, slinky, and carefully structured production hides outsized emotions beneath garage’s lithe profile. Pitchfork, 7 Dec. 2023 Clueless No list dedicated to Rudd's lithe limbs would be complete without the heartwarming school dance scene from his 1995 breakout rom-com, Clueless. Sophie Dodd, Peoplemag, 13 Nov. 2023 There were no aggressive thuds from these lithe, floating acrobats. Gia Kourlas, New York Times, 7 Nov. 2023 Although Jones’s choreography is at times lithe and forceful — especially in some of the sequences featuring the show’s chorus, a group of nameless characters collectively known as the Echo Chamber — there’s no single element that helps to pull the fuzzy mélange of Watch Night into sharp focus. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 8 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lithe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near lithe

Cite this Entry

“Lithe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lithe. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: easily bent : flexible
long lithe stems
: light and graceful in movement
lithe dancers
lithely adverb
litheness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lithe

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