\ ˈstilt How to pronounce stilt (audio) \

Definition of stilt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one of two poles each with a rest or strap for the foot used to elevate the wearer above the ground in walking
b : a pile or post serving as one of the supports of a structure above ground or water level
2 plural also stilt : any of several very long-legged 3-toed shorebirds (genera Himantopus and Cladorhynchus) that are related to the avocets, frequent inland ponds and marshes, and nest in small colonies


stilted; stilting; stilts

Definition of stilt (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to raise on or as if on stilts

Examples of stilt in a Sentence


a circus performer walking on stilts

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Several restaurants along it can be approached by boat, and many houses have docks and boathouses on stilts. Anne Barnard, New York Times, "Algae Bloom Fouls N.J.’s Largest Lake, Indicating Broader Crisis," 5 Aug. 2019 Most homes rest on stilts; red foxes and berry bushes hide in the knee-high grass. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "The Village Where Every Cop Has Been Convicted of Domestic Violence," 18 July 2019 Water got under his house, which is on stilts, but there was no damage and the power never went off. Author: Rebecca Santana And Jonathan Drew, Anchorage Daily News, "Barry’s flood threat lingers as storm slowly sweeps inland," 15 July 2019 Flamingos — or at least stilt-walkers with flamingo facades — walked among the crowd. Near the Green Gate entrance, a man in a sequined multicolored fish scale vest tossed pins in the air while calling out show times. Lilly Nguyen,, "Crowds eat and play on opening day at the Orange County Fair," 12 July 2019 The event will also feature a comedy and magic show by Bruce Manners, an appearance by Netflix show Ozark’s Evan George Vourazeris, people on stilts and face painters galore. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "Celebrate 7 years of Central Green in Katy with Beatles tribute," 16 July 2019 Water got under his house, which is on stilts, but there was no damage and the power never went off. Author: Rebecca Santana And Jonathan Drew, Anchorage Daily News, "Barry’s flood threat lingers as storm slowly sweeps inland," 15 July 2019 Water got under his house, which is on stilts, but there was no damage and the power never went off. Jonathan Drew,, "Barry downgraded to tropical depression as storm slowly sweeps inland through Gulf Coast states," 14 July 2019 Flood zone maps changed, requiring more costly repairs, like lofting homes on stilts. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Six years after Sandy, Jersey Shore recovery shows shortfalls in the system," 18 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Yet the dialogue grows increasingly stilted down the stretch, and, as the photographer and his guide, Riley McNutt and Eric Webster offer a limited array of reactions and poses. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Despite fine dancing, ‘Heaven’ is a bleak Bosnian odyssey," 9 June 2019 Universities like Chicago should enroll students from a variety of backgrounds—even if the academic-bureaucratic conception of diversity now in vogue is stilted and narrow. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The War on Admissions Testing," 1 July 2018 The participants, including Trump, seemed unusually awkward, their interactions stilted, and their posing over in a matter of seconds. Jackie Calmes,, "Trump calls for Russia's reinstatement, adding to deep tensions with allies at G-7 summit," 8 June 2018 Things have always felt stilted between Brianna and Claire, their relationship heavy with a lot of unsaid words. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Outlander Season 3 Episode 5 Reunites Claire and Jamie—For a Few Moments," 9 Oct. 2017 From steel drums to stilt walkers, Trinidad and Tobago provides lively entertainment for the whole family and brings the festive music of the Caribbean to the heart of Harford County. Aegis Staff, The Aegis, "Ladew Gardens sets its 2018 summer concerts," 29 May 2018 The language of the documents can be stilted, even bureaucratic. Ruth Franklin, New York Times, "Tracy K. Smith, America’s Poet Laureate, Is a Woman With a Mission," 10 Apr. 2018 From photo ops with the Easter Bunny to stilt walkers and juggling sessions to face painting and more, entertainment for all ages will unfold from morning to night. Grace Dickinson,, "Where to celebrate Easter with the family in Philadelphia this year," 22 Mar. 2018 But even that is not enough to save this awkwardly written, stilted and sometimes just plain cruel movie. Laura Demarco,, "Woody Allen's 'Wonder Wheel' with Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake bleak despite Coney Island setting: Review," 11 Dec. 2017

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1649, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stilt


Middle English stilte; akin to Old High German stelza stilt

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Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for stilt

The first known use of stilt was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for stilt



English Language Learners Definition of stilt

: one of a set of upright posts that are used to hold a building up above water or the ground
: one of a pair of long poles with platforms for your feet that you can stand on to walk high above the ground


\ ˈstilt How to pronounce stilt (audio) \

Kids Definition of stilt

1 : one of a pair of tall poles each with a high step or loop for the support of a foot used to lift the person wearing them above the ground in walking
2 : a stake or post used as one of the supports of a structure (as a building) above ground or water level

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More from Merriam-Webster on stilt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stilt

Spanish Central: Translation of stilt

Nglish: Translation of stilt for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about stilt

Comments on stilt

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


a period when something is suspended

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