lyric

noun
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

lyric

adjective

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

ballad, ditty, jingle, lay, song, vocal

Synonyms: Adjective

bardic, lyrical, poetic, poetical, poeticized

Antonyms: Adjective

prosaic, prose, unlyrical, unpoetic

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Did You Know?

Adjective

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

So much character in her vocal delivery, clever lyrics, efficient production. USA TODAY, "Playlist: What's Ben Rector listening to?," 29 June 2018 This version of the classic tale, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, was written for a television production starring Julie Andrews in 1957 and premiered on Broadway in 2013. Dan Kelly, kansascity, "KC events June 28-July 4: Booms & Blooms, ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Dinosaurs Revealed,’ Royals," 26 June 2018 Seth Mireles pens most of the band’s lyrics, with his brother helping him put them to music. Don Maines, Houston Chronicle, "Pop-punk band to provide musical fireworks," 20 June 2018 West Side Story was written by Arthur Laurents with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Alessandra Rincón, Billboard, "'West Side Story' Returning to Broadway," 12 July 2018 From Takada’s precise and serene score, Lafawndah wrote lyrics that are essentially a dialogue between herself and the fox. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Two Generations of Experimental Musical Artists Join Forces for a Dreamy New Kenzo Video," 12 July 2018 Never mind that the lyrics to that song have nothing to do with war or peace, but instead paint a portrait of an astronaut who is far, far away in outer space and has little hope of returning. George Varga, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Rocket Man! President Trump reportedly sends Kim Jong Un a signed copy of Elton John's record," 6 July 2018 That may be part of why the lyrics are so hard to remember. Joss Fong, Vox, "A debate on the merits of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”," 4 July 2018 All of us being involved in songwriting, writing lyrics, working up the songs. L. Kent Wolgamott, sacbee, "For Mastodon, the long road to metal success is measured by band’s creative satisfaction," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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, latimes.com, "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, SI.com, "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, courant.com, "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. refinery29.com, "New Music To Know This Week: Julia Michaels, Florence + The Machine, & More," 4 May 2018 Since dropping the lyric video at 12 a.m. Thursday (May 3) morning, fans have been floored by the singer's use of 3D imagery. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Troye Sivan Releases "Bloom" Music Video," 3 May 2018 Singer Sam Nelson Harris’ wailing vocals accompany piano riffs and drum elements, offering a lyric-less accompaniment to the classical music. National Geographic, "How to Create a Music Score for Our Planet," 19 Apr. 2018 An Evening with Renée Fleming Fleming, one of the most revered lyric sopranos in today’s opera world has one of the widest and most eclectic repertoires of her contemporaries. David Lyman, Detroit Free Press, "MOT's 2018-19 season includes 'Eugene Onegin,' 'Candide' and 'Grapes of Wrath'," 13 Apr. 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

Noun

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lyric

Adjective

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 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lyric

The first known use of lyric was in 1567

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More Definitions for lyric

lyric

noun

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

lyric

adjective

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

lyric

noun
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

lyric

adjective

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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