Definition of lullaby in English:



  • A quiet, gentle song sung to send a child to sleep.

    • ‘Kara's voice was more subtle, and her soft lullabies on quiet Alabama nights made it seem as though everything was right with the world.’
    • ‘Participants learned the old lullabies and folk songs of their mothers and grandmothers joyfully and enthusiastically.’
    • ‘The music is the best thing about the film, which includes spirituals, work songs, a lullaby, and a great sequence in a saloon with honky-tonk jazz.’
    • ‘In fact, he said if you woke up, I was to sing you a lullaby to get you back to sleep if I had to.’
    • ‘His singing-voice sounded so soft, like he was singing a lullaby.’
    • ‘She tucked her into bed and sang her a soft lullaby.’
    • ‘In the world of today, there is a need of the power of lullabies.’
    • ‘I arrive to a small door that was open halfway, and in the small room I see Holly holding a small bundle in her arms, walking back and forth, while singing her little lullaby.’
    • ‘As for new songs, there's a Latvian lullaby, a Czech dirge and a Bulgarian ballad.’
    • ‘One of the earliest lullabies in English was written during the time of King Edward II of England in the 14th century.’
    • ‘You see, my mother used to sing me a lullaby before I went to sleep.’
    • ‘Their traditional music includes work songs, hymns, lullabies, ballads, and healing songs.’
    • ‘Feeling that resonance was an extraordinary experience that was both like listening to a lullaby and an awakening song.’
    • ‘Children are encouraged to sing songs during the day and lullabies before they sleep.’
    • ‘He started singing a lullaby, and I stood in the doorway, watching them.’
    • ‘Whether it be a new tune or a timeless classic, these lullabies are sure to do the trick and calm even the most active youth.’
    • ‘They bantered a few minutes more before everyone quieted down and simply enjoyed the ambience and the lullaby being sung for them.’
    • ‘The music is Celtic-Emerald Isle - the songs are a lullaby.’
    • ‘I dreamt of a rainy day, one of those days when the crackle of water on the windows acts like a lullaby, a gentle drumming to make you slip into afternoon sleep against the strange worlds inside your book.’
    • ‘In this collection are old British and American ballads, Civil War songs, blues, frolic tunes, children's games, nonsense songs, lullabies, spirituals, and more.’
    cradle song, soothing song, gentle song, quiet song
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[with object]rare
  • Sing to (someone) to get them to go to sleep.

    ‘she lullabied us, she fed us’
    • ‘For the next ten years until the death of Philip V (the first Spanish Bourbon and father of the first Neapolitan Bourbon), Farinelli lullabied the depressed king to sleep with the same four songs every night!’
    • ‘Sunshine will appeal to story group times at schools and libraries, as well as parents and grandparents lullabying their children to sleep at bedtime.’
    • ‘Two yellow birds are sitting atop the cradle as if lullabying the child.’
    • ‘Another such piece, ‘Child Falling Asleep,’ lulls the mind into a sleepy state, much as he might have imagined lullabying his own children at bedtime.’
    • ‘However, these songs all share the common unifying characteristic of lullabying children to sleep for generations past and generations to come.’
    soothe, quiet, hush, lullaby
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Mid 16th century: from lull + bye-bye, a sound used as a refrain in lullabies; compare with bye-byes.