Definition of lilt in English:

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Pronunciation: /lilt/


1A characteristic rising and falling of the voice when speaking; a pleasant gentle accent: he spoke with a faint but recognizable Irish lilt
More example sentences
  • Remembering it now, he could again hear the gentle lilt of her English accent as she had confessed how her time with them had seemed more a pleasant lifetime than the short while it had been.
  • Given the gentle lilt of her voice, it's no wonder slow-burning hymns like ‘Isolada’ and ‘Amdjer de Nos Terra’ are her proven domain.
  • There's deliciously crisp Scottish lilt to her speaking voice, which is sadly lost when she sings.
1.1A pleasant, gently swinging rhythm in a song or tune: the lilt of the Hawaiian music
More example sentences
  • In turning it to a danceable 8/4 rhythm they completely lost the appealing lilt of the song.
  • Born in Raipur, he grew up on Parsi theatre, silent films and the robust lilt of Chhatisgarthi folk songs that filled the air all around.
  • For an inordinate seven minutes, the song lilts and rolls into glorified nothingness.
1.2 archaic, chiefly Scottish A cheerful tune.
Example sentences
  • I do the Scottish Lilt either to the Battle of the Somme (which is also a 9/8 tune) or to original tunes.
  • The original tunes for the Lilt are 'Drops of Brandy' and 'Brose and Butter'.


[no object] (often as adjective lilting)
Speak, sing, or sound with a lilt: a lilting Welsh accent
More example sentences
  • Chan's fierce power in the opening Allegro kept the performance lilting - borne aloft on wings of song.
  • He doesn't so much speak to you as he lulls you in lilting, mellifluous tones.
  • Standard French is widely spoken, albeit in a distinctive, lilting French West Indian accent.


Late Middle English lulte (in the senses 'sound an alarm' or 'lift up the voice'), of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with lilt

atilt, built, gilt, guilt, hilt, jilt, kilt, quilt, silt, spilt, stilt, tilt, upbuilt, wilt

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lilt

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