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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.
    • a. 1851, William Wordsworth, “The Redbreast”, in Henry [Hope] Reed, editor, The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Philadelphia, Pa.: Hayes & Zell, [], published 1860, OCLC 6755364:
      Whether the bird flit here or there,
      O'er table lilt , or perch on chair
  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]


lilt in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913