Definitions

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

  • adj. Readily bent; supple: lithe birch branches.
  • adj. Marked by effortless grace: a lithe ballet dancer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Mild; calm.
  • adj. slim but not skinny
  • adj. Capable of being easily bent; pliant; flexible; limber
  • n. Shelter.
  • v. To go.
  • v. To become calm.
  • v. To make soft or mild; soften; alleviate; mitigate; lessen; smooth; palliate.
  • v. To give ear; attend; listen.
  • v. To listen to.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Mild; calm.
  • adj. Capable of being easily bent; pliant; flexible; limber.
  • v. To listen or listen to; to hearken to.
  • transitive v. To smooth; to soften; to palliate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Soft; tender; mild; calm; agreeable.
  • Easily bent; pliant; flexible; limber.
  • Pleasant; fine.
  • Synonyms Pliable, supple, willowy.
  • To become calm.
  • To make soft or mild; soften; alleviate; mitigate; lessen.
  • To relax; make less stiff.
  • To give ear; attend; listen.
  • To listen to.
  • To go.

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

  • adj. moving and bending with ease

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English līthe, flexible, mild.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English lithen, from Old English līþan ("to go, travel, sail, be bereft of"), from Proto-Germanic *līþanan (“to go, leave, suffer”), from Proto-Indo-European *leit- (“to go, depart, die”). Cognate with North Frisian lyen, lye ("to suffer"), Dutch lijden ("to suffer, dree, abide"), German leiden ("to suffer, brook, permit"). See also lode, lead. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, from Old English līþe ("gentle, mild"), from Proto-Germanic *linþiz, from Proto-Indo-European *lento. Akin to Danish and German lind ("mild"), Icelandic linr ("soft to the touch"). Not attested in Gothic nor Old Norse. Some sources list also Latin lenis ("soft"), others Latin lentus ("supple"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English lithen, from Old English līþian, līþiġian ("to soften, calm, mitigate, assuage, appease, be mild"), from Proto-Germanic *linþēnan, *lenþēnan (“to soften”), from Proto-Indo-European *lento- (“bendsome, resilient”). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English lithen, from Old Norse hlýða ("to listen"), from Proto-Germanic *hleuþijanan (“to listen”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱlewe- (“to hear”). Cognate with Danish lytte ("to listen"). Related to Old English hlēoþor ("noise, sound, voice, song, hearing"), Old English hlūd ("loud, noisy, sounding, sonorous"). More at loud. (Wiktionary)
Origin uncertain; perhaps an alteration of lewth. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "She was lithe and light and graceful as she ran..."

    Lord Foul's Bane

    July 29, 2012

  • After many hours of insidious tattle, I disentangled from his lithe arm and sauntered away to my lone gratification.

    May 12, 2011

  • lissom

    April 4, 2009

  • Behind snarled thickets of my eyes
    Lurks the lithe one

    from "Pursuit," by Sylvia Plath

    April 8, 2008