Other forms: lilting; lilted; lilts

Use the word lilt to describe a swinging kind of tempo in music. You might love old fashioned big band jazz because of its distinctive lilt.

Upbeat, rhythmic music of any kind has a lilt, and you can also describe certain ways of speaking as having a lilt. In this case, the lilt is either the rhythm of a person's speech, or her accent — an Irish accent is often called an "Irish lilt." Lilt can be a verb, too, as when you lilt out a song. The earliest meaning of the word was "to lift up one's voice," from the West Midlands lulten, "to sound an alarm."

Definitions of lilt
  1. noun
    a jaunty rhythm in music
    synonyms: swing
    see moresee less
    type of:
    the rhythmic property imparted by the accents and relative durations of notes in a piece of music
  2. verb
    articulate in a very careful and rhythmic way
    see moresee less
    type of:
    articulate, enounce, enunciate, pronounce, say, sound out
    speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
Cite this entry
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

Copy citation
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘lilt'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up lilt for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer