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From Middle English lilten, lulten.


  • IPA(key): /lɪlt/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪlt


lilt (third-person singular simple present lilts, present participle lilting, simple past and past participle lilted)

  1. To do something rhythmically, with animation and quickness, usually of music.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Wordsworth to this entry?)
  2. To sing cheerfully, especially in Gaelic.
  3. To utter with spirit, animation, or gaiety; to sing with spirit and liveliness.


lilt (plural lilts)

  1. Animated, brisk motion; spirited rhythm; sprightliness.
  2. A lively song or dance; a cheerful tune.
  3. A cheerful or melodious accent when speaking.
    • July 18 2012, Scott Tobias, AV Club, The Dark Knight Rises (review)
      Though Bane’s sing-song voice gives his pronouncements a funny lilt, he doesn’t have any of the Joker’s deranged wit, and Nolan isn’t interested in undercutting his seriousness for the sake of a breezier entertainment.

See also[edit]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for lilt in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)