\ 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

Noun a circus performer walking on stilts
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There’s nothing new about a bunch of red-nosed clowns and illusionists and stilt-walkers (shoes by Balenciaga) parading around downtown Fort Lauderdale. Ben Crandell,, "10 things to do in Fort Lauderdale this weekend: Red noses, high heels and a circus downtown | Photos," 16 Apr. 2021 Colorful masks also adorn the faces of Universal’s stilt-walking employees throwing beads for the Mardi Gras festivities. Gabrielle Russon,, "The band plays on at SeaWorld Orlando, even as the singer must keep his mask on," 23 Mar. 2021 In one of the bamboo-and-thatch stilt houses, the ladder to the living quarters was made from metal tubes that formerly held American cluster bombs. New York Times, "A Secret War. Decades of Suffering. Will the U.S. Ever Make Good in Laos?," 16 Mar. 2021 Swans and 17 species of duck frequent Gillmor, which also provides nesting habitat for various shorebirds, such as the snowy plover, American avocet, Wilson’s phalarope, black-necked stilt, cinnamon teal and gadwall. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "This gift means the Great Salt Lake’s bird sanctuary is now larger and better protected," 26 Dec. 2020 The building will be supported by helical piers — an alternative stilt-like construction method often used at sites with foundation issues. Eddie Morales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Glendale's rezoning approval for car wash 'took a lot of convincing,' developer said," 28 Nov. 2020 The Fall Family Fun Day on Saturday will include a street chalk artist and muralist creating 3-D paintings, a clown, stilt-walker and other entertainment. Michelle Mullins,, "This Week in Naperville," 16 Oct. 2020 Other features include a vampire stilt walker, creepy creatures from Texas such as snakes, and spooky craft activities. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, "Multiple Halloween events planned in Bay Area," 16 Oct. 2020 The wider east end features cottages shaded by tall pine trees, while the west end’s beach houses stand on stilts and face the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Mississippi Sound on the other. Michelle Matthews |, al, "The Mobile Bay Ferry gives you the best of both worlds at the beach," 2 June 2020 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stilt

Time Traveler for stilt

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for stilt

Last Updated

21 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stilt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on stilt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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