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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for lyric

Synonyms: Noun

poem, rune, song, verse

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Antonyms: Adjective


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Snake Eater theme did a great job setting the tone for MGS3, so why not use something similar to set Never Stop Sneakin’s irreverent emphasis with goofier lyrics? Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Never Stop Sneakin’ is a brilliant send-up of ’90s stealth games," 12 July 2018 The same song was reprised to close the show, with lyrics repurposed to celebrate the dreamers who win, perhaps the overarching theme of the evening. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "The 72nd Annual Tony Awards: TV Review," 11 June 2018 Black metal lyrics often espouse Satanism and paganism, and a few bands feature neo-Nazi beliefs. Melinda Deslatte, The Seattle Times, "Shock at arrest of deputy’s son in black church fires," 14 Apr. 2019 One of the best chorus lyrics in country music history. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "100 Songs to Clean the Garage To," 20 Nov. 2018 American singers Madison Beer and Jaira Burns contributed the English lyrics, while two members of (G)I-DLE sang and rapped in Korean. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "League of Legends’ virtual K-pop band is helping the game attract a whole new audience," 11 Nov. 2018 Previously malleable meanings behind the lyrics became fixed, and gone was the song’s pluralist subtext. New York Times, "‘God Bless America’: 100 Years of an Immigrant’s Anthem," 2 July 2018 The Irish singer's lyrics became a symbol of hope after the tragic 9/11 attacks, and has even been featured on a Friends episode. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "20 Best Irish Songs to Help You Celebrate St. Patrick's Day," 13 Feb. 2019 Drake knows exactly what his fans want: catchy hip-hop songs, lyrics that double as clever Instagram captions, and exclusive-as-hell merchandise. Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "Drake Released a New Album—and, Obviously, New Merch," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Next, Grammy-awarding winning artist Alessia Cara tries her hand at a 2000s lyric challenge. Erika Trombley, Seventeen, "Winner of "The Voice" Brynn Cartelli Dishes On What It's Like to Be On Tour with Kelly Clarkson," 25 Mar. 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lyric

Listen to Our Podcast about lyric

Statistics for lyric

Last Updated

6 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lyric

The first known use of lyric was in 1567

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!