: a stringed instrument of the harp class having an approximately U-shaped frame and used by the ancient Greeks especially to accompany song and recitation (see recitation sense 2)
: a small clip typically resembling a lyre that is use for holding sheet music and attaches to a musical instrument (such as a trombone)
capitalized : lyra

Illustration of lyre

Illustration of lyre
  • lyre 1

Examples of lyre in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Chaos strikes during a rave when Hard Rock Trolls try to take over the world, and Poppy learns of the six magical lyre strings that once united the musical tribes. Keith Langston, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2023 The night concluded with daughter Carolina presenting her father with a special birthday present, a statue of Apollo playing a lyre, as well as an enormous birthday cake with 70 candles, which the birthday boy proceeded to blow out whilst walking around table-sized dish. Paul Croughton, Robb Report, 4 Sep. 2023 Some recent scholarship has challenged Nero’s reputation for profligacy, suggesting that he was portrayed by ancient historians as a villain, accused of playing a lyre while Rome burned in A.D. 64. Elisabetta Povoledo, New York Times, 30 July 2023 My handbag becomes my lyre. Adali Schell, Los Angeles Times, 10 Oct. 2022 Cut and paste the strings upon my lyre. Eli Burnstein, The New Yorker, 19 Jan. 2022 Ustinov calls for his lyre. Gaia Squarci, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Sep. 2020 One lyre-like instrument from Central Africa features a resonator fashioned from an actual human skull. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 7 Oct. 2022 Amadeo is shaped like a lyre and was named for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who also hails from Austria and was born the year the Riedel was founded. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 18 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lyre.' 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 lire, from Anglo-French, from Latin lyra, from Greek

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lyre was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near lyre

Cite this Entry

“Lyre.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lyre. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a small harp held in the hands for playing

More from Merriam-Webster on lyre

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