November 27, 2012
stilted (adjective)
\STIL-tud\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: not easy and natural
How do you use it?
"It's normal to be nervous giving your first oral report," Ms. Everett assured the class. "And you shouldn't be upset if your speech is stilted or if you have to pause to look at your notes."
Are you a word wiz?

Which of the following do you think is most likely to be described as "stilted"?

"Stilted" usually describes a person's language—spoken or written—as in answer D. When language was first described as "stilted" people meant that the language was formal and serious in a way that suggested that the speaker thought he or she was better than other people. Later, stilted language came to be understood as awkward, especially because of the language being too formal. "Stilted" comes from the noun "stilt," which refers to either a post that supports a building above the ground or water, or one of two poles with platforms for your feet that you can stand on to walk above the ground.
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