Definition of tilt in US English:



  • 1Move or cause to move into a sloping position.

    no object ‘the floor tilted slightly’
    with object ‘he tilted his head to one side’
    • ‘It's a travesty because if anything the axis of power has been tilting back towards men in recent years.’
    • ‘After some time, I let myself lean back in the chair, tilting my head back slightly.’
    • ‘There are many factors that influence bond markets and at present the balance may be tilting towards the positive.’
    • ‘There is little doubt that the balance of greed and fear is tilting towards greed.’
    • ‘Overall, the scales tilt towards the positive.’
    • ‘‘Yeah,’ she said, leaning back into the chair and tilting her head back towards the wall.’
    • ‘Then, leaning over, tilting her chin slightly with my free hand, I kissed her.’
    • ‘Would I really have to get a full top set of braces to fix one tooth that has slightly tilted to an angle?’
    • ‘Inhale as you squat down as if you were sitting in a chair, tilting your hips back slightly while keeping your chest up.’
    • ‘I eased off the brakes and pulled on the power lines by tilting the handles towards me.’
    • ‘Her head tilted, only slightly, and she looked to the floor, speaking towards her side.’
    • ‘She spread out her fingers and supported her weight on the chair, tilting it backwards slightly as she did.’
    • ‘Dr. Solaris reclined in his desk chair, tilting his head towards the ceiling.’
    • ‘Move in slow with your face towards hers and slightly tilt your head so you don't bump noses.’
    • ‘Kain was sitting crossed armed in a chair, head tilted slightly forward.’
    • ‘He sank back down onto the floor and tilted his head slightly, resting his chin on the back of his hands.’
    • ‘There's just a touch of power in the sun now, a reassurance that the planet is moving on, tilting towards the light, lengthening the days and getting ready for Spring.’
    • ‘When Morgan left in 1996 the balance of power was tilting gently again towards Kerry.’
    • ‘She walked up the furrow and placed the end of the staff in it, tilting the staff slightly towards the water.’
    • ‘Yet it is not difficult to understand why the balance has tilted towards athletics.’
    lean, tip, list, slope, camber, bank, slant, incline, pitch, dip, cant, bevel, angle, cock, heel, careen, bend, be at an angle
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    1. 1.1 Change or cause to change in favor of one person or thing as opposed to another.
      no object ‘the balance of industrial power tilted towards the workers’
      • ‘Even before the senate voted, the White House attacked the plan, saying it's tilted more towards lenders than homeowners.’
      • ‘A federal court struck down the plan because, in their efforts to tilt the scales toward Republicans, the legislators had created districts with different size populations.’
      • ‘The regulatory playing field is tilted distinctly in favour of the cigarette manufacturers.’
      • ‘Further public demonstrations of ideological consanguinity are required to tilt the issue in her favour.’
      • ‘His Russian prose, too, though full of ironic tricks and intricate detail, tilted toward the sentimental.’
      • ‘It creates a level playing field, perhaps one even slightly more tilted towards the innovator - the rewards for being first.’
      • ‘Battleground states in yellow could tilt the election either way.’
      • ‘Despite resistance, the etiquette debate seems to be tilting in the favor of smartphone use, many executives said.’
      • ‘It complained that the terms of the distribution deal were tilted too heavily in the other party's favor.’
      • ‘Corruption is essentially a means of depriving other people of their equitable rights by tilting the balance in favour of certain individuals or communities.’
      • ‘The Republican's tax cut - aimed at spurring the economy - tilts more to helping higher-income taxpayers, married couples and job producers.’
      • ‘The swing states are generally tilting to the Democratic nominee.’
      • ‘But people overseas know how the political playing field was tilted in his favor.’
      • ‘Under the protective shield provided by the central bank, the US financial system has became tilted toward relentless expansion.’
      • ‘Slight changes in the dialogue also tilt toward the French version.’
      • ‘Alternative print publications tend to be economically dependent on entertainment advertising and tilt a sizeable chunk of coverage toward entertainment and culture stories.’
      • ‘The readership of this list is tilted toward power users, not normal people.’
      • ‘With her re-found republicanism, she is trying to tilt the party towards the new voters.’
      • ‘I find her argument to tilt too far in the direction of realpolitik.’
      • ‘In the particular case of Iraq in 2002, I believe the balance tilts strongly toward action.’
    2. 1.2with object Move (a camera) in a vertical plane.
      • ‘Shooting from a high vantage point and tilting the camera down so it is more parallel to the plane of the foreground also helps extend the range of sharp focus.’
      • ‘This means that the camera, once mounted, can be panned and tilted through a full degree range in all directions.’
      • ‘He probably has no better idea than I do of why he occasionally tilts the camera or uses slow motion.’
      • ‘And if you tilt your camera to take a picture of a building or a monument, vertical lines will converge and rectangles turn into trapezoids.’
      • ‘We observe throughout with a stationary camera and all we end up doing is panning and tilting, while we remain in one spot.’
  • 2tilt withhistorical no object (in jousting) thrust at with a lance or other weapon.

    ‘he tilts at his prey’
    figurative ‘the lonely hero tilting at the system’
    • ‘The same might be said of rifle practice, as compared with bravely tilting at an enemy with spear and shield upon an open field of battle.’
    • ‘But he's already tilted at, and failed to land, Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Germany's Commerzbank.’
    charge, rush, run
    joust, tourney, enter the lists
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    1. 2.1tilt witharchaic Engage in a contest with.
      ‘I resolved never to tilt with a French lady in compliment’
      • ‘National Guardsmen regularly tilted with protesting workers convinced that they were once again, as in 1830, about to be cheated of their revolution.’


  • 1A sloping position or movement.

    ‘the tilt of her head’
    ‘the coffee cup was on a tilt’
    • ‘The upward tilt of the floor plane makes their feet seem to dangle downward.’
    • ‘The tower rises to a height of 179 ft but despite the head-scratching of scientists, engineers and architects the tilt is still pronounced.’
    • ‘In a scene recalling the earthquake's devastation, riverfront houses loomed over the river at a dangerous tilt after a landslide swept away most of their foundations.’
    • ‘It is significant that, unlike the Albanian portrait, the sitter was highly critical of the painting and forced Phillips to lower the tilt of the upturned nose.’
    • ‘With a tilt of the head, he'll talk unguardedly of stealing his mother's copy of the record, his unapologetic love for Wings, and his cat back home in Detroit.’
    • ‘In 1178, with only three stories of the tower built, work stopped because of politics and debt, but the tilt toward the south was already evident.’
    • ‘A primary factor controlling the seasons and climate is the obliquity, the tilt of the planet's spin axis with respect to the normal to the orbital plane.’
    • ‘You learn the languages of the eyes, the hands and those subtle tilts of the head.’
    • ‘He was wearing his cap off-center and set well back on his head at an insolent tilt,.’
    • ‘While he never diffused an aura of vanity, he held his fine features at a haughty tilt as though regarding himself dispassionately in an invisible looking-glass.’
    • ‘Similarly, as the nose goes down, the vortices below the keels tend to counteract the upward tilt of the tail end.’
    • ‘As a result the two-storey centre section with its turned-up eaves has a drunken tilt.’
    • ‘This system virtually eliminates tire lift and off-camber tilt.’
    • ‘The exercises include the pelvic tilt, partial sit-up, and drawing the knees to the chest.’
    • ‘Instead the tilt of the head and other body language become more important.’
    • ‘I nudged Rainman and gestured at the woman with a tilt of my head.’
    • ‘She said she is now concerned about her family's safety because a 90-foot fir tree in her backyard has a slight tilt toward the house.’
    • ‘She seems to be looking permanently upwards because of the tilt of the tip of her nose.’
    • ‘But I could feel that we were descending slowly - after two solid days on aeroplanes, my inner ear was sensitive to the tilt of movement.’
    • ‘Marked changes in the axial tilt of the Earth have also taken place.’
    slope, list, camber, gradient, bank, slant, incline, pitch, dip, cant, bevel, angle, heel
    nod, dip, tip, inclination, cock, bob
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    1. 1.1 An upward or downward pivoting movement of a camera.
      ‘pans and tilts’
      • ‘The test to adopt a dual interpretation is whether it is possible to accomplish the effect of the movement in question by means of a tilt or pan alone.’
      • ‘The tilt raises our expectations of what we will see when the camera stops.’
      • ‘The upward tilt of the camera captures the perfect equipoise of the acrobat featured against a dull grey sky.’
      • ‘The use of camera or lens movements, such as tilts, swings and rising or falling film and lens standards permits a further range of control.’
      • ‘If you do get a tripod make sure its a good one, you want a fluid head so your pans and tilts are smooth.’
    2. 1.2 An inclination or bias.
      ‘the paper's tilt toward the Republicans’
      • ‘The study found a clear tilt toward firms with Republican connections - especially among the top 10 list of beneficiaries from the postwar era.’
      • ‘There's too much tilt toward the left-wing agenda.’
      • ‘He concluded that it is both regular and irregular, with a tilt towards the regular.’
      • ‘The tilt toward democratization does not guarantee global good government.’
      • ‘And it is a transition characterised by a tilt towards Islamist conservatism, with all its geopolitical consequences.’
      • ‘The group claims that IRB decisions are often based on commissioners' prejudices and Canada's foreign policy tilt of the moment.’
      • ‘It seems evident that while there seemed to be a tilt towards Bombay and Calcutta to begin with, at least the awardees were all Indians.’
      • ‘The recent tilt towards Russia partly reflects the recovery of a degree of Russian power under Putin, but also growing disillusion with the West.’
      • ‘He is convinced that the tilt towards the environment at the expense of productivity has gone too far.’
      • ‘In a ‘deregulated’ energy environment, a deliberate tilt toward green energy would make a huge difference.’
      • ‘The voting patterns of Native Americans are often hard to quantify and in many places do not show a partisan tilt toward Democrats or Republicans.’
      • ‘He condemns the tilt towards blind patriotism, but what are the interests behind the beating of the war drums?’
      • ‘It was a sign that the band was maturing - it made a clear tilt toward acoustic instruments, somewhat darker themes and walls of horns.’
      • ‘Was it no more than an amassing of negative detail, a sudden tilt toward understanding?’
      • ‘In recent issues, I have clung to my bearish outlook but gingerly hinted that a tilt to the bullish side of the ledger was in the offing.’
      • ‘However, the significance of the candidates' list resides not so much in the prospects of the individual contenders as in its heavy tilt towards the conservative camp.’
      • ‘In the wake of the Clinton visit, some members of India's intelligentsia are openly advocating a new tilt toward Washington.’
      • ‘The tilt toward Israel will not soon be forgotten by the Arab world, but it will be harder for the administration to claim that Bush's support of Sharon has made a difference.’
      • ‘This tilt toward the negative is something built in to the media's genetic makeup.’
      • ‘The fact that the study included the beginning of a new Republican administration may excuse a slight tilt toward Republican guests.’
    3. 1.3
      short for tilt hammer
  • 2historical A combat for exercise or sport between two men on horseback with lances; a joust.

    joust, tournament, tourney, lists, combat, contest, fight, duel
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    1. 2.1tilt at An attempt at winning (something) or defeating (someone), especially in sports.
      ‘a tilt at the championship’
      • ‘And you might have thought he'd be happy he was not running for the Board this year after three consecutive tilts!’
      • ‘It seems an age ago that Rangers opened their tilt for the title with what was seen as a desperately damaging 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock.’
      • ‘Gary Dale, needless to say, has Frank's unqualified endorsement for the impending electoral tilt.’
      • ‘He is calling on his Lancaster City players to go out on a high before he sits down and plots next season's tilt towards the Conference.’
      • ‘A few stiff drinks have been the order of the day in the aftermath of Celtic's other tilts for the Scottish Cup in the time Petrov has been in this country.’
      attempt on, bid for
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  • (at) full tilt

    • With maximum energy or force; at top speed.

      • ‘Ireland are at their best when they are playing at full tilt, when the adrenalin is flooding their veins and the prize is substantial.’
      • ‘Yes, yours truly decided to run full tilt into the corner of the shelf.’
      • ‘Yet Faulkner knows this may be his one chance to make an impression, and he has no intention of approaching this weekend's race at anything other than full tilt.’
      • ‘And although St Joseph's may not have been at full tilt throughout the game, their speedy forwards and hunger driven runs caused Whitecross problems along the back lines.’
      • ‘‘They ran full tilt the second he hit the shot,’ said Watson.’
      • ‘‘It was at full tilt and was almost at take-off speed,’ said Chris Formby, chief fire officer at the airport.’
      • ‘And that's before his company was even going full tilt.’
      • ‘So how fast could his homemade car go at full tilt?’
      • ‘When you're multitasking at full tilt, balance is one of the first things to suffer.’
      • ‘And it was a magnificent, entertaining and exciting game of football played at full tilt by both sides.’
      full speed, at full speed, full pelt, at full pelt, as fast as one's legs can carry one, at a gallop, helter-skelter, headlong, hotfoot, post-haste, hurriedly, hastily, wildly, pell-mell, impetuously, recklessly, rashly, at breakneck speed, precipitately, impulsively
      with great force, full force, with full force, full blast, with a will, for all one is worth, with might and main, with all the stops out, all out, with a vengeance, vigorously, energetically, strongly, powerfully, madly
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  • tilt at windmills

    • Attack imaginary enemies or evils.

      • ‘In order not to risk tilting at windmills, I am not getting my hopes up that my museum project will be realized.’
      • ‘It's not hard to see the appeal of a romantic dreamer forever tilting at windmills - Welles spent his life fighting the mundane reality of unrealised ambitions and broken promises.’
      • ‘I mean all your life you know some might say you've been tilting at windmills.’
      • ‘If you diversify into activity where you have no competitive advantage you are just tilting at windmills.’
      • ‘Starting out by tilting at windmills, the report ends up with proposals for reform that fail to deal with the real problems of the medical profession in the new millennium.’
      • ‘Of course the petition, the campaign and the whole story are all tilting at windmills.’
      • ‘A sympathetic judge lets her off with a fine and a reprimand and she goes driving off on a high ready to tilt at windmills once more.’
      • ‘So no matter how much effort millionaires, lawyers and the military spend tilting at windmills, it seems, the future for wind power still looks good.’
      • ‘Hopefully, their officers will fall into line, tackle the real issues of the GAA and stop tilting at windmills.’
      • ‘Trying to dictate specifics to the universal realms is, ultimately, tilting at windmills, since those energies work in ways few human beings have ever totally understood.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘fall or cause to fall, topple’): perhaps related to Old English tealt ‘unsteady’, or perhaps of Scandinavian origin and related to Norwegian tylten ‘unsteady’ and Swedish tulta ‘totter’.