Definition of lyrical in US English:



  • 1(of literature, art, or music) expressing the writer's emotions in an imaginative and beautiful way.

    ‘the poet's combination of lyrical and descriptive power’
    • ‘Tim Albery's production of Wagner's classic story of growing up, featuring some of his most lyrical music.’
    • ‘A major influence in his lyrical visions is the writer Walt Whitman as signposted by the song ‘Leaves of Grass’.’
    • ‘The elegant and lyrical sculpture Tango, illustrated at right, is an icon of early twentieth-century American art.’
    • ‘Everybody must have this recording in their collection: It is the most sublime music and sophisticated and lyrical jazz ever recorded.’
    • ‘A beautiful and lyrical middle interlude provides a brief respite amid music of unabating virtuosity.’
    • ‘The lyrical art writing of John Ashbery, Bill Berkson, and Peter Schjeldhal has obvious affinities with Pater's.’
    • ‘Far from a smutty provocation, the painting is unexpectedly lyrical.’
    • ‘Still, this is, in the end, an above average Kreisleriana, especially effective in the more lyrical music.’
    • ‘And even at its most splintered, the music remained intensely lyrical.’
    • ‘You can find masters of any form, be it ballet, capoeira, flamenco or lyrical jazz.’
    • ‘But nevertheless, she has written emotionally charged music with lyrical directness.’
    • ‘Here the creaky melodrama is swept away by Tchaikovsky's lyrical music.’
    • ‘This year, tap, ballet, and lyrical jazz will be offered for all levels of students.’
    • ‘Her poetry and prose quickly earned for her recognition as one of India's most lyrical and intellectually prolific writers.’
    • ‘You cannot help notice the remarkable literary, almost lyrical, quality about the work.’
    • ‘He takes classes in musical theater, lyrical jazz, contemporary jazz, hip hop and funk.’
    • ‘Our music is lyrical, gritty and very original.’
    • ‘His music unites lyrical Romanticism with the rigours of Baroque and Classical forms.’
    • ‘Beamish's taut and lyrical music may even win new admirers.’
    • ‘We have Hysteria for the more lyrical music and Hysteria Underground for the harder, more underground vibe.’
    songlike, lyric, melodic, musical, melodious, rhapsodic, poetic
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    1. 1.1 (of poetry or a poet) lyric.
      ‘Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads’
      • ‘Since he writes neither drama nor epic, he said, his poetry can only be lyrical.’
      • ‘The show combines Jack's unique and spine tingling voice with the lyrical poetry of Jacques Brel and more than a touch of cabaret light and magic.’
      • ‘It was during this period that he found his voice and produced his greatest lyrical poetry, including the personal manifesto to struggle and to love, A Cloud in Trousers.’
      • ‘His poetry is sometimes lyrical, sometimes sharply satirical.’
      • ‘The conciseness of its language and the lyrical beauty of its poetry are unequated and it is recognised as one of the greatest literary and spiritual productions of India.’
      • ‘It also features some sublime lyrical poetry to boot.’
      • ‘There are even elements of The Beatles in some of the choral sections, while her major hero, David Bowie, is said to come through in her unexpected lyrical poetry.’
      • ‘Are we prepared to take a step towards the thinking poet or the lyrical thinker, with the kind of concentration and pleasure in complexity that he deserves?’
      • ‘The accents are at times difficult to understand but add to the appeal of the production and transform Synge's dialogue into lyrical poetry.’
      • ‘Jordan is a powerful, lyrical writer who explores dark places and finds transparent truths about guilt and innocence.’
      • ‘He was portrayed as a brilliant lyrical poet, but an ineffectual dreamer whose poetry improved when he outgrew his youthful radicalism.’
      • ‘I Saw Ramallah is an intensely lyrical account of the poet's return to his hometown on the West Bank from protracted exile abroad.’
      • ‘There is no gentle poetry, no lyrical love duet, no sword fighting, no nurse, no doll, no childhood.’
      • ‘On the other hand, Nero's love for lyrical poetry did not stop him from being a tyrant.’
      • ‘But both her prose and her poetry were extremely lyrical.’
      • ‘Much of the debate of recent years has done serious damage to Burns' nature as a great lyrical and narrative poet.’
      • ‘Boxley Street in east London may not seem a natural source of lyrical poetry.’
      • ‘This poetry was lyrical, taking its inspiration from nature and the countryside, and is now generally disregarded as lifeless and conventional.’
      • ‘Yet Seferis survived all this, and the lyrical anguish of the poetry is his testament.’
      • ‘His poetry is neither traditional, nor audaciously experimental, but lyrical and contemporary in themes.’
  • 2Relating to the words of a popular song.

    ‘the lyrical content of his songs’
    • ‘Meanwhile, if your taste is more house music with DJ and hardly any lyrical content in the songs, then pick Seb Fontaine's album.’
    • ‘Certain companies which aimed at making a fast buck in the festival market produced albums in haste, due to which the songs lacked lyrical and musical quality.’
    • ‘Of course, when you listen to the record, you're left with more questions than answers, as the lyrical content is just as ambiguous as the song titles.’
    • ‘In both cases, the melodic and lyrical thrust of the song is not lost in the new version - both work quite well in this refreshed context.’
    • ‘If you're a fan of Les Claypool and his odd lyrical content and vocal styling, as well as great song writing, you will need to own this album.’
    • ‘These songs have a deceptive lyrical vacuity that hints at greater depths, but leaves them to the listener to consider.’
    • ‘This 17-track collection features the Irish songs, ballads and lyrical legacy of colonial rule in Ireland.’
    • ‘Calypso according to Duke is our current editorial in song, timely in lyrical content and rhythm and relevant to said time and place.’
    • ‘The lyrical viewpoint of the song is bracing rather than saccharine or whiny.’
    • ‘That stuff has given us more lyrical and song-based songs.’
    • ‘With this horrifying statement, the song's lyrical content comes to an end.’
    • ‘Also the environment you grow up in is bound to be reflected in the lyrical content of the songs you write.’
    • ‘Blimey, some of this recording is rather risqué - from the sultry photographs of Miss Phair that accompany the artwork to some of the lyrical content of the songs.’
    • ‘I ask Kelly if he has ever been embarrassed by singing a song due to its naked lyrical content.’
    • ‘Further into the record, the band invests in smaller details, and when it does the songs overcome the lyrical shortcomings.’
    • ‘The way that I work piece by piece, I write as I go and one melody might instigate a counter melody and the emotional nature of a song might inspire the lyrical content.’
    • ‘There was a time when Malayalam drama and cinema songs had an inimitable lyrical and musical charm.’
    • ‘The Swordsmen's techno knob fiddling adds an effective acid house wash to the song's coy lyrical interplay.’
    • ‘The story is in how Marshall attracts them, like you, with songs stripped of lyrical and musical artifice and a smoky, kool chick voice.’
    • ‘The folkier side of it comes out in the story-telling aspect of the song, the lyrical content.’


  • wax lyrical

    • Talk in a highly enthusiastic and effusive way.

      ‘waxing lyrical about his splendid son-in-law’
      • ‘Despite waxing lyrical in one repugnantly positive column about the African-American version of the KKK, the Black Panthers, this man feels free to see and condemn racism anywhere and everywhere.’
      • ‘I really didn't think that the 5/8 position was as crucial as described by Ken while he was waxing lyrical about the potential for rugby league strategies to influence rugby union.’
      • ‘It is approaching midnight in a cafe on the outskirts of Moscow and a group of enthusiasts are waxing lyrical on the subject of their favourite car, the Lada.’
      • ‘The veteran financial guru invented mutual funds - the US equivalent of index trusts - and was in Edinburgh last week waxing lyrical about Scotland, the home of his forefathers.’
      • ‘They launched an underwhelming campaign which consisted of a few posters and Packie Bonner unconvincingly waxing lyrical about the benefits of the tournament for Irish soccer.’
      • ‘I mean, is it strictly necessary to emerge from the shower, grab a towel and commence a sawing action under your crotch while simultaneously waxing lyrical about Fairtrade bananas?’
      • ‘Dick Hyman is not one for waxing lyrical, but get him on the subject of his boyhood hero Bix Beiderbecke and the quiet American giant of jazz piano suddenly has plenty to say.’
      • ‘I'm equally grateful to Quarsan for waxing lyrical about one of my favourite periods in music - the post-punk era - and for maintaining some directly music-related content on this site.’
      • ‘In all my rock literature perusing over the years, I really can't recall anyone waxing lyrical about ‘Face To Face’ as a stand-along thing, though they should have.’
      • ‘In these pages last week, our art critic Iain Gale waxed lyrical - and certainly much more lyrically than I can ever wax - about the richness of the Demarco collection.’
      rave, be enthusiastic, gush, bubble over, effervesce, be effusive, rhapsodize, go into raptures
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