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[lahyuh r] /laɪər/
a musical instrument of ancient Greece consisting of a soundbox made typically from a turtle shell, with two curved arms connected by a yoke from which strings are stretched to the body, used especially to accompany singing and recitation.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Lyra.
Origin of lyre
1175-1225; Middle English lire < Latin lyra < Greek lýra
Can be confused
liar, lyre. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lyre
  • The buying of a lyre with cash wouldn't concern me so much.
  • Aficionados compare their shape to the lyre and even to the scorpion's arched stinger.
  • He's searching for a divine lyre that could cure him.
  • The difference being that the lyre snake's grooved teeth are in the rear of its mouth.
British Dictionary definitions for lyre


an ancient Greek stringed instrument consisting of a resonating tortoise shell to which a crossbar was attached by two projecting arms. It was plucked with a plectrum and used for accompanying songs
any ancient instrument of similar design
a medieval bowed instrument of the violin family
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin lyra, from Greek lura
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lyre

harp-like instrument, c.1200, from Old French lire "lyre," from Latin lyra, from Greek lyra, a foreign word of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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