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How to pronounce stilted (audio)

Dictionary definition of stilted

Appearing stiff, unnatural, and overly formal, lacking in spontaneity or genuine emotion.
"His stilted attempts at flirting were met with polite but unenthusiastic responses."

Detailed meaning of stilted

When we characterize something as stilted, we emphasize its awkward and forced quality, often stemming from an attempt to adhere to rigid conventions or etiquette. Stilted conversations or writing may seem artificial and rigid, as if the participants are struggling to express themselves freely. This term conveys a sense of discomfort and formality, suggesting that the subject does not flow naturally and may come across as insincere or contrived. Whether it's a stilted conversation during a formal event, a stilted performance lacking emotional authenticity, or stilted prose in a written work, this adjective highlights the lack of ease and spontaneity in the expression of ideas or emotions.

Example sentences containing stilted

1. The stilted dialogue in the play made it challenging for the actors to convey genuine emotions.
2. The formal letter's stilted language made it sound like a legal document.
3. The job interview felt stilted, with both the candidate and the interviewer nervous and reserved.
4. The stilted conversation at the family reunion highlighted the estrangement between relatives.
5. The professor's lecture was informative but came across as somewhat stilted.
6. The couple's stilted conversation during dinner hinted at underlying tension.

History and etymology of stilted

The adjective 'stilted' has its etymological roots in the world of physical support. It is related to the noun 'stilt,' which originally referred to a long, slender post or pole used to raise a structure above water or uneven ground. The term 'stilted' itself is a figurative extension of this concept, describing something that appears elevated or raised in an unnatural way, much like a structure supported by stilts. In a metaphorical sense, 'stilted' has come to mean something that appears stiff, unnatural, and overly formal, lacking spontaneity or genuine emotion. It suggests a contrived or forced quality in language, behavior, or expression, akin to the idea of something being elevated or raised in an awkward and artificial manner. Therefore, the etymology of 'stilted' reflects its historical connection to the notion of something being unnaturally elevated, which aligns with its modern meaning of lacking in naturalness and spontaneity.

Quiz: Find the meaning of stilted

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Further usage examples of stilted

1. The employee's stilted presentation lacked the enthusiasm needed to engage the audience.
2. The stilted exchange of pleasantries at the party reflected the attendees' discomfort.
3. The official statement was carefully crafted but sounded stilted and insincere.
4. The news anchor's stilted delivery of the breaking news made it difficult to grasp the severity of the situation.
5. The stilted conversation between the two colleagues indicated a strained working relationship.
6. The stilted atmosphere in the room made it hard for participants to open up during the meeting.
7. The stilted tone of the historical document reflected the formalities of the time.
8. The politician's stilted speech left the audience feeling disconnected from the message.
9. Her stilted response to the unexpected question showed she was unprepared for the interview.
10. The first date was awkward and stilted, with both individuals unsure of what to say.
11. The movie's stilted pacing made it difficult for viewers to stay engaged.
12. The stilted conversation between the teacher and the student indicated a lack of rapport.
13. The stilted translation of the novel lost the original's natural flow and charm.
14. His stilted attempts at humor fell flat, leaving the audience uncomfortable.
15. Their date felt stilted, awkward, and lacked chemistry.



awkward, natural, fluid, spontaneous


Guile and Duplicity, Correspondence and Understanding, Drama and Overreaction, Social Hierarchy and Relationships, Fake and Insincere

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