Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A speech defect or mannerism characterized by mispronunciation of the sounds (s) and (z) as (th) and (th).
  • noun A sound of or like a lisp.
  • intransitive verb To speak with a lisp.
  • intransitive verb To speak imperfectly, as a child does.
  • intransitive verb To pronounce with a lisp.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The habit or act of lisping, as in uttering th for s, and Ŧh for z; an indistinct utterance, as of a child.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To pronounce with a lisp.
  • transitive verb 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 verb To speak with reserve or concealment; to utter timidly or confidentially.
  • intransitive verb To pronounce the sibilant letter s imperfectly; to give s and z the sound of th; -- a defect common among children.
  • intransitive verb To speak with imperfect articulation; to mispronounce, as a child learning to talk.
  • intransitive verb To speak hesitatingly with a low voice, as if afraid.
  • noun The habit or act of lisping. See lisp, v. i., 1.
  • noun (Computers) 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 .

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[From Middle English lispen, to lisp, from Old English -wlyspian (in āwlyspian, to lisp), from wlisp, lisping.]

Examples

Comments

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  • 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

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

    November 17, 2007

  • 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

  • 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