\ ˈlī(-ə)r How to pronounce lyre (audio) \

Definition of lyre

1 : 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)
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)
3 capitalized : lyra

Illustration of lyre

Illustration of lyre

lyre 1

Examples of lyre in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

CT scans and micro-excavation revealed the complete outline of the lyre in detail. Roff Smith, National Geographic, "New research questions famed burial of ‘first’ Christian Anglo-Saxon king," 8 May 2019 Beside them were the remains of a musician who held a stunning lyre. National Geographic, "The royal tombs of Ur revealed Mesopotamia's golden splendor," 22 May 2019 This collection features eight killer tracks from the 70s and 80s, with Hassan accompanying his own soulful singing on amplified tambour-a five-string lyre-over percolating Daleeb rhythms from northern Sudan. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Drummer and composer Bill Harris on a Chicago iconoclast who can make an album feel like an epic film," 13 June 2018 In the painting, Apollo is holding a lyre while Venus, the goddess of love, is portrayed as an artist painting a landscape, her fleshy backside exposed. Laura M. Holson, New York Times, "A Lost Painting Is Rediscovered. Have You Checked Your Closets Lately?," 5 Apr. 2018 Apollo is holding a lyre and Venus is naked, painting on a canvas. Mercedes Leguizamon And Brandon Griggs, CNN, "A forgotten painting in an Iowa closet turns out to be a 16th-century masterwork worth millions," 2 Apr. 2018 Having profitably played his lyre in Weinstein’s court for a quarter of a century, the director Quentin Tarantino kept his counsel for a couple of weeks before confirming that, yes, this really is how things are done. Kyle Smith, National Review, "This Hollywood Scandal Is Different," 24 Oct. 2017 There’s no evidence of this maniacal lyre-playing, but historians today still debate whether Nero orchestrated the disaster. Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic, "The Normalization of Conspiracy Culture," 17 June 2017 The scrolled feet, together with the lyre and wreath decoration, suggest to me that this lamp embraces the Arts and Crafts ideal while not quite abandoning the decorative elements of earlier pieces. Jane Alexiadis, The Mercury News, "What’s It Worth?: Lamp from the ‘Prairie School’ of design," 19 Apr. 2017

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lyre

Middle English lire, from Anglo-French, from Latin lyra, from Greek

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Dictionary Entries near lyre






lyre bat


Statistics for lyre

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for lyre

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

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More Definitions for lyre



English Language Learners Definition of lyre

: a musical instrument with strings that was used especially in ancient Greece


\ ˈlīr How to pronounce lyre (audio) \

Kids Definition of lyre

: a stringed musical instrument like a harp used by the ancient Greeks

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More from Merriam-Webster on lyre

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lyre

Spanish Central: Translation of lyre

Nglish: Translation of lyre for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lyre for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lyre

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