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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He strikes but one chord at a time on his lyre, but he leaves you thrilled.

    Legends, Tales and Poems Gustavo Adolfo Becquer
  • Well; and may you not also from seeing the picture of a horse or a lyre remember a man?

    Phaedo Plato
  • Hesiod and some others relate that they built the walls of Thebes by playing on the lyre.

  • I have said enough to the teacher of letters; and now we will proceed to the teacher of the lyre.

    Laws Plato
  • It seemed as if a strange spirit of wild song had come upon him and his lyre.

    Ulric the Jarl William O. Stoddard
  • He so struck the chord of the Scottish lyre, that its vibrations were felt in every bosom.

  • I'm just going to tell what a lot of skins they are when I begin writing for The lyre.

    Captain Jinks, Hero Ernest Crosby
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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