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From Middle English lispen, lipsen, wlispen, from Old English *wlispian (attested in āwlyspian (to lisp)), from Old English wlisp, wlips (stammering, lisping, adj), from Proto-Germanic *wlispaz (lisping), from Proto-Indo-European *wlis-, *wleys- (rod), from *wel- (to turn, roll). Cognate with Middle Low German wlispen (to lisp), Dutch lispen (to lisp), German lispeln (to lisp), Danish læspe (to lisp), Swedish läspa (to lisp).



lisp (plural lisps)

  1. The habit or an act of lisping.
    He used to have a terrible lisp before going to a speech therapist.
    It's common for children to speak with a lisp.



lisp (third-person singular simple present lisps, present participle lisping, simple past and past participle lisped)

  1. To pronounce the consonant ‘s’ imperfectly; to give ‘s’ and ‘z’ the sounds of ‘th’ (/θ/, /ð/). This is a speech impediment common among children.
  2. To speak with imperfect articulation; to mispronounce, such as a child learning to talk.
    • Alexander Pope
      As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame, / I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came.
  3. (archaic) To speak hesitatingly and with a low voice, as if afraid.
    • Drayton
      Lest when my lisping, guilty tongue should halt.
  4. (archaic) to express by the use of simple, childlike language.
    • Tyndale
      to speak unto them after their own capacity, and to lisp words unto them according as the babes and children of that age might sound them again
  5. (archaic) To speak with reserve or concealment; to utter timidly or confidentially.
    to lisp treason
    • 1830, Mary Russell Mitford, Our Village: Fourth Series: Cottage Names
      But the fashion spreads deeper and wider; the village is infected and the village green; Amelias and Claras sweep your rooms and cook your dinners, gentle Sophias milk your cows, and if you ask a pretty smiling girl at a cottage door to tell you her name, the rosy lips lisp out Caroline.

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