Word of the day – Lissome

Word of the Day : June 9, 2020


adjective LISS-um


1 a : easily flexed

b : characterized by easy flexibility and grace : lithe

2 : nimble

Did you know?

Lissome (sometimes spelled lissom) is a gently altered form of its synonym, lithesome. While lissome tends to be the more popular choice these days, the two words have similar pasts. They both appeared in the 18th century, and they both trace back to the much older lithe, which first appeared in English during the 14th century and comes from an Old English word meaning “gentle.” Lissome can also be an adverb meaning “in a supple or nimble manner,” but this use is rare.


“A couple of images haunt me from this ‘West Side Story,’ and both do come from video. One is of an anonymous, lissome figure, barely detectable as he or she dances at the end of a long, dark street. The other is of a television playing while Maria and Anita are arguing about a recent gang slaying.” — Ben Brantley, The New York Times, 20 Feb. 2020

“The visiting Americans … look dazed, like astronauts observing lissome green Martian women in a ’50s sci-fi cheapie.” — David Edelstein, Vulture, 23 Aug. 2019