Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A speech defect or mannerism characterized by mispronunciation of the sounds (s) and (z) as (th) and (th).
  • n. A sound of or like a lisp: "The carpenter['s] . . . plane whistles its wild ascending lisp” ( Walt Whitman).
  • intransitive v. To speak with a lisp.
  • intransitive v. To speak imperfectly, as a child does.
  • transitive v. To pronounce with a lisp.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The habit or an act of lisping.
  • v. To pronounce the sibilant letter ‘s’ imperfectly; to give ‘s’ and ‘z’ the sounds of ‘th’ (IPA: /θ / ð/) — a defect common amongst children.
  • v. To speak with imperfect articulation; to mispronounce, as a child learning to talk.
  • v. To speak hesitatingly and with a low voice, as if afraid.
  • v. To pronounce with a lisp.
  • v. To utter with imperfect articulation; to express with words pronounced imperfectly or indistinctly, as a child speaks; hence, to express by the use of simple, childlike language.
  • v. To speak with reserve or concealment; to utter timidly or confidentially; as, to lisp treason.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The habit or act of lisping. See lisp, v. i., 1.
  • n. a high-level computer programming language in which statements and data are in the form of lists, enclosed in parentheses; -- used especially for rapid development of prototype programs in artificial intelligence applications .
  • intransitive v. To pronounce the sibilant letter s imperfectly; to give s and z the sound of th; -- a defect common among children.
  • intransitive v. To speak with imperfect articulation; to mispronounce, as a child learning to talk.
  • intransitive v. To speak hesitatingly with a low voice, as if afraid.
  • transitive v. To pronounce with a lisp.
  • transitive v. To utter with imperfect articulation; to express with words pronounced imperfectly or indistinctly, as a child speaks; hence, to express by the use of simple, childlike language.
  • transitive v. To speak with reserve or concealment; to utter timidly or confidentially.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pronounce the sibilant letters s and z imperfectly, as by giving the sound of th (as in thin) or Ŧh (as in this, either.)
  • To speak imperfectly, as in childhood; make feeble, imperfect, or tentative efforts at speaking; hence, to speak in a hesitating, modest way.
  • To pronounce with a lisp or imperfectly.
  • n. The habit or act of lisping, as in uttering th for s, and Ŧh for z; an indistinct utterance, as of a child.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a flexible procedure-oriented programing language that manipulates symbols in the form of lists
  • n. a speech defect that involves pronouncing `s' like voiceless `th' and `z' like voiced `th'
  • v. speak with a lisp

Etymologies

From Middle English lispen, to lisp, from Old English -wlyspian (in āwlyspian, to lisp), from wlisp, lisping.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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Comments

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  • Years ago I learned something very useful from C.S.Lewis. (The Last Battle in the Narnia series, I think.)

    In the book one character whispers to another while on a night-time reconnaissance: "Get down, thee better."

    Lewis then explains that she says this not because she has a lisp but because she knows that the sibilants are the noisiest part of any whisper and the sound most likely to give you away if you're trying to go undetected.

    And ever since I have always made a point of lithping when whithpering. Or at least avoiding words with sibilants in them.

    August 8, 2008

  • Tell Veronica the secret of the boy you never kissed
    She's got everything to gain 'cause she's a fat girl with a lisp
    She sticks up for you when you get aggravation from the snobs
    'Cause you can't afford a blazer, girl, you're always wearing clogs


    (Expectations, by Belle and Sebastian)

    August 8, 2008

  • "Lisp is over half a century old and it still has this perfect, timeless air about it."

    November 17, 2007

  • I would like to know of a link to a page which lists - in matched pairs - all of the sets of fairly common words in the English language (or at least all of the 1, 2 or 3-syllable ones) WHICH ACTUALLY EXIST, and which sound like completely different words (real words, commonly used in conversation, including slang) - when spoken with, and without, a lisp.

    Examples:

    pithy/pissy
    moss/moth
    Thin/Sin
    myth/Miss
    Lass/Lath
    Bath/Bass
    Meth/Mess
    Truth/Truce (truss?)
    Questionable:
    Sauce/Thoth (okay, so names of ancient mythical deities are sometimes allowed in a pinch)
    Cloth/Claus (claws?) (not a soft "S" sound)
    oath/Oz
    booze/booth
    prissy/prithee

    Strictly speaking (or perhaps lisply speaking…?), only soft "th" sounds - as in thin or three - should be included, not hard "th", as in then, or there. But sometimes, even inveterate punsters have to settle for less than perfect…

    January 11, 2007