lyr·​ic | \ ˈlir-ik \

Definition of lyric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a lyric composition specifically : a lyric poem
2 : the words of a song often used in plural



Definition of lyric (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : suitable for singing to the lyre or for being set to music and sung
b : of, relating to, or being drama set to music especially : operatic lyric stage
2a : expressing direct usually intense personal emotion especially in a manner suggestive of song lyric poetry
b : exuberant, rhapsodic exploded with lyric wrathTime
3 of an opera singer : having a light voice and a melodic style a lyric soprano — compare dramatic

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Synonyms & Antonyms for lyric

Synonyms: Noun

poem, rune, song, verse

Synonyms: Adjective

euphonious, lyrical, mellifluent, mellifluous, mellow, melodic, melodious, musical

Antonyms: Adjective


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Did You Know?


To the ancient Greeks, anything lyrikos was appropriate to the lyre. That elegant stringed instrument was highly regarded by the Greeks and was used to accompany intensely personal poetry that revealed the thoughts and feelings of the poet. When the adjective lyric, a descendant of lyrikos, was adopted into English in the 1500s, it too referred to things pertaining or adapted to the lyre. Initially, it was applied to poetic forms (such as elegies, odes, or sonnets) that expressed strong emotion, to poets who wrote such works, or to things that were meant to be sung; over time, it was extended to anything musical or rhapsodic. Nowadays, lyric is also used as a noun naming either a type of poem or the words of a song.

Examples of lyric in a Sentence


a song with a beautiful lyric a poet admired for his lyrics


they performed a slow, lyric dance for the audience the film's lyric photography really enhanced its romantic mood
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Here are the best Taylor Swift lyrics for your Instagram captions. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "The 45 Best Taylor Swift Lyrics That Make Perfect Instagram Captions," 31 Jan. 2019 The guys actually give the masculine point of view to a lyric that simply represents a proud and powerful woman who can go on without a man. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Viva Friday: Best Music Picks of the Week by Wisin, Karol G & More," 13 July 2018 Those famous instructional lyrics remain the same, but there's a lot more going on here. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Disney Remixed Kim Possible's Theme Song With Vocals From Reboot Star Sadie Stanley," 11 Jan. 2019 Save for a few lyrics on Swift's 2017 album Reputation that may or may not be about Alwyn, she's kept quite mum about the relationship. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Taylor Swift's Surprise Night Out at the 2019 Golden Globes: Everything We Know," 7 Jan. 2019 Other fans are also picking up other clues in the song's lyrics that point to some of Mac's songs. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Fans Are Debating Whether Ariana Grande's New Single "Imagine" Is About Mac Miller or Pete Davidson," 14 Dec. 2018 For people who might not know, Rage Against the Machine has very incendiary lyrics about like tearing things up and radical ideas in it and revolutionary things. Eric Johnson, Recode, "‘Sorry to Bother You’ director Boots Riley suspects social media platforms are hiding politics they don’t like," 8 Oct. 2018 The idea is to work the lyrics out of you like an emotion welling up in the heart, like a situation that needs fixing, like a journey with oppression on the back end and hope on the front end. Tyrone Beason / Columnist, The Seattle Times, "Total Experience Gospel Choir’s last days: Pat Wright built legacy with gusto of a freedom fighter," 1 Oct. 2018 Migos is an influential rap group that came on the scene a few years ago, and their lyrics are charged. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "100 Songs to Clean the Garage To," 20 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

At exactly midnight, Ari unveiled the track alongside a mesmerizingly glitchy lyric video on her YouTube channel. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Released Her Song "Imagine" and Fans Think It's About Mac Miller," 14 Dec. 2018 The accompanying lyric video, which just dropped today, finds Grimes in an appropriately futuristic, amethyst-color catsuit. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Grimes Undergoes a Futuristic Style Transformation for Her New Video," 29 Nov. 2018 Three more CDs of studio outtakes, rehearsals and instrumental mixes illuminate the creative choices the Beatles made—lyric changes, tempo alterations, wholesale revamping of arrangements—while building these songs. Allan Kozinn, WSJ, "The Beatles’ Big Ideas Turn 50," 9 Nov. 2018 The lyric video for the haunting ballad begins with imagery of a morning-after hangover and a montage of video and photos from Lovato’s past before giving away to the meat of the song. Libby Hill,, "Demi Lovato's surprise single 'Sober' raises eyebrows about her well-being," 21 June 2018 The lyric video for the song also features students from the Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, Groban’s alma mater, to help convey the track's anthemic lyrics. Mackenzie Cummings-grady, Billboard, "Josh Groban Releases Inspiring New Single 'Granted': Listen," 8 June 2018 That’s the magic, when the music and the lyric fit. Justin Barrasso,, "The ’Mania Supercolumn: 34 Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes for WrestleMania 34," 6 Apr. 2018 Kenyon published four poetry collections before dying at 47, and is now considered one of America’s best lyric poets. Carole Goldberg,, "Steve Almond To Give Writing Workshop, Eric D. Lehman To Discuss 'Connecticut Vanguards'," 16 May 2018 Even the imagery in her lyric video manages to feel intimate: the handwriting, the knife with lipstick writing, the tampon, the gummy bears, and the makeup all add up to detritus that jumps into and out of the lives of real women., "New Music To Know This Week: Julia Michaels, Florence + The Machine, & More," 4 May 2018

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


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lyric


Middle French or Latin; Middle French lyrique, from Latin lyricus, from Greek lyrikos, from lyra

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Statistics for lyric

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for lyric

The first known use of lyric was in 1567

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More Definitions for lyric



English Language Learners Definition of lyric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the words of a song
: a poem that expresses deep personal feelings in a way that is like a song : a lyric poem



English Language Learners Definition of lyric (Entry 2 of 2)

: expressing deep feelings in a way that is like a song
: writing lyric poetry
of an opera singer : having a light and pure voice


lyr·​ic | \ ˈlir-ik \

Kids Definition of lyric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the words of a song often used in pl.
2 : a poem that expresses feelings in a way that is like a song



Kids Definition of lyric (Entry 2 of 2)

: expressing personal emotion in a way that is like a song lyric poetry

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More from Merriam-Webster on lyric

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lyric

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lyric

Spanish Central: Translation of lyric

Nglish: Translation of lyric for Spanish Speakers

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

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