Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
See also: liþe and -lithe



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English lithen, from Old English līþan ‎(to go, travel, sail, be bereft of), from Proto-Germanic *līþaną ‎(to go, leave, suffer), from Proto-Indo-European *leyt- ‎(to go, depart, die). Cognate with North Frisian lyen, lije ‎(to suffer), Dutch lijden ‎(to suffer, dree, abide), German leiden ‎(to suffer, brook, permit). See also lode, lead.


lithe ‎(third-person singular simple present lithes, present participle lithing, simple past lithed or lode, past participle lithed or lidden)

  1. (intransitive, obsolete) To go.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English lithe, from Old English līþe ‎(gentle, mild), from Proto-Germanic *linþaz, from Proto-Indo-European *lentos. Akin to Saterland Frisian lied ‎(thin, skinny, gaunt), Danish and German lind ‎(mild), Icelandic linur ‎(soft to the touch). Not attested in Gothic nor Old Norse. Some sources list also Latin lenis ‎(soft), others Latin lentus ‎(supple).


lithe ‎(comparative lither, superlative lithest)

  1. (obsolete) Mild; calm.
    lithe weather
  2. slim but not skinny
    lithe body
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, Nobody, chapter III:
      She was frankly disappointed. For some reason she had thought to discover a burglar of one or another accepted type—either a dashing cracksman in full-blown evening dress, lithe, polished, pantherish, or a common yegg, a red-eyed, unshaven burly brute in the rags and tatters of a tramp.
  3. Capable of being easily bent; pliant; flexible; limber
    the elephant’s lithe proboscis.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English lithen, from Old English līþian, līþiġian ‎(to soften, calm, mitigate, assuage, appease, be mild), from Proto-Germanic *linþijaną ‎(to soften), from Proto-Indo-European *lento- ‎(bendsome, resilient).



  1. (intransitive, obsolete) To become calm.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To make soft or mild; soften; alleviate; mitigate; lessen; smooth; palliate.

Etymology 4[edit]

From Middle English lithen, from Old Norse hlýða ‎(to listen), from Proto-Germanic *hliuþijaną ‎(to listen), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱlewe- ‎(to hear). Cognate with Danish lytte ‎(to listen). Related to Old English hlēoþor ‎(noise, sound, voice, song, hearing), Old English hlūd ‎(loud, noisy, sounding, sonorous). More at loud.


lithe ‎(third-person singular simple present lithes, present participle lithing, simple past and past participle lithed)

  1. (intransitive, obsolete) To attend; listen.
  2. (transitive) To listen to.

Etymology 5[edit]

Origin uncertain; perhaps an alteration of lewth.


lithe ‎(plural lithes)

  1. (Scotland) Shelter.
    • 1932, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song:
      So Cospatric got him the Pict folk to build a strong castle there in the lithe of the hills, with the Grampians dark and bleak behind it, and he had the Den drained and he married a Pict lady and got on her bairns and he lived there till he died.