lyr·​ic | \ ˈlir-ik How to pronounce lyric (audio) \

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

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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

Noun a song with a beautiful lyric a poet admired for his lyrics Adjective 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 Their first two albums are flawless, with fleet, purposeful arrangements of Ric’s anti-romantic lyrics., "#RicOcasek," 16 Sep. 2019 The looks, the hooks, Beat-romance lyrics, killer choruses, guitar solos that pissed off your parents, dazzling music videos. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Think Ric Ocasek Didn't Touch Your Life? Think Again," 16 Sep. 2019 His journals are also dense cultural artifacts, interlaced with quotations from books, movies, song lyrics, and news reports. Jeremy Lybarger, The New Yorker, "Lou Sullivan’s Diaries Are a Radical Testament to Trans Happiness," 16 Sep. 2019 The group posts lyrics from the jam band — altered, of course, with references to their favorite drink. Emily Heil,, "The key to White Claw’s popularity may be its nongendered ads," 11 Sep. 2019 The group posts lyrics from the jam band - altered, of course, with references to their favorite drink. oregonlive, "White Claw reaches peak hysteria with rationing, destroys boozy gender divide," 10 Sep. 2019 The new entrance incorporates multiple elements of Wyatt’s former gimmick, including lyrics from his previous theme music. Dan Gartland,, "Watch Bray Wyatt’s Full Entrance as ‘The Fiend’ at SummerSlam 2019," 12 Aug. 2019 Those lyrics make for a sharp, effective, dart-like opening. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Whitney Houston’s Uncanny New Summer Single," 16 July 2019 Thankfully, that lyric never made it out of the practice sessions. Randall Roberts,, "We inhaled all 16 hours of Radiohead's ‘OK Computer’ sessions. Here are the best bits," 11 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Italian lyric tenor, who was born in Modena in 1935 and died of pancreatic cancer in 2007, was considered by many to have the most beautiful voice of his type since Enrico Caruso. Washington Post, "Ron Howard tells Pavarotti’s ‘bittersweet’ story in new doc," 4 June 2019 In addition to slipping in the name of her previous album, Swift seems to use this lyric to reference how West and Kardashian did their part to help keep their feud in the headlines. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "Taylor Swift's 'Lover': The juiciest lyrical references, from Kanye West to Leonardo DiCaprio," 23 Aug. 2019 Lucky for you, country singers have been doing that for decades and there's a song lyric fit for every possible life experience. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "55 Best Country Song Instagram Captions," 30 July 2019 The great lyric poet Sappho, active on the island of Lesbos in the seventh to sixth centuries B.C., composed about 10,000 lines, 600 of which have survived. Raquel López, National Geographic, "Did sons and daughters get the same education in ancient Greece?," 28 Aug. 2019 Osanna himself grew up near the extinct volcano Monte Vulture in the southern Italian hill town of Venosa, birthplace of the lyric poet Horace. Chiara Goia, Smithsonian, "The New Treasures of Pompeii," 21 Aug. 2019 Swift released the song on Aug. 16 with a lyric video that features short clips from home videos. Katherine Schaffstall, The Hollywood Reporter, "Taylor Swift Releases "Lover" Music Video," 22 Aug. 2019 The track was released on radio and streaming, and accompanied by a lyric video (above). Rachel Yang,, "Katy Perry releases new single 'Small Talk' and lyric video," 9 Aug. 2019 Berman wasn’t just pointing out his predecessors with that lyric, though. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "David Berman Sang the Truth," 8 Aug. 2019

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

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for lyric

The first known use of lyric was in 1567

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More Definitions for lyric


How to pronounce lyric (audio)

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 How to pronounce lyric (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lyric

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on lyric

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


not being in agreement or harmony

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