\ 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

Floating villages line the lake, where everything—homes, shops, restaurants, schools, hospitals—teeters just above the water on stilts. Kareena Gianani, National Geographic, "Explore Cambodia’s ancient stone city," 10 Sep. 2019 As part of a long term fix, Good Sam is planning to lift some structures up on stilts, and was seeking funding from state and federal sources earlier this year. Ryan Gillespie,, "Hurricane Dorian prompts mandatory evacuation for Good Samaritan retirement community in Kissimmee," 1 Sep. 2019 What the couple ultimately chose was a shingle-sided ranch-style home that rests on stilts to avoid future floods. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "15 bedroom decor ideas to steal now," 19 Aug. 2019 There will be roaming performers, as well, including magicians, stilt walkers and clowns from the Dent Schoolhouse. Briana Rice,, "Western & Southern WEBN Fireworks 2019: Everything you need to know about Riverfest," 27 Aug. 2019 Jugglers, stilt-walkers and burlesque-like human earthworms will show off their talents at the corner of Dale Street and LaFond Avenue from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 7 to call attention to the impacts of a changing climate on low-income communities. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "Sustainability Circus comes to St. Paul’s Frogtown Sept. 7," 16 Aug. 2019 Upon arrival, she was welcomed by a stilt walker and a fire-eater before heading inside for food and drinks. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Rihanna Rocks Silky Black Ensemble to Zirque Event at Nikki Beach Barbados," 6 Aug. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Your ability to move into different situations can be stilted at times., "Horoscope," 31 Aug. 2019 And the ouster of one of the longest-serving stalwarts in the agency shows how far the White House is willing to go toward disrupting NASA and attempting to break through the bureaucracy that many think has stilted its exploration efforts for years. Christian Davenport, Washington Post, "White House frustration over moon mission delays preceded removal of top NASA official," 11 July 2019 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

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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Statistics for stilt

Last Updated

14 Sep 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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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