1. a harp used by ancient Greeks for accompaniment;
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Lyre \Lyre\, n. [OE. lire, OF. lyre, L. lyra, Gr. ?. Cf.
1. (Mus.) A stringed instrument of music; a kind of harp much
used by the ancients, as an accompaniment to poetry.
Note: The lyre was the peculiar instrument of Apollo, the
tutelary god of music and poetry. It gave name to the
species of verse called lyric, to which it originally
furnished an accompaniment.
2. (Astron.) One of the constellations; Lyra. See Lyra.
Lyre bat (Zool.), a small bat (Megaderma lyra),
inhabiting India and Ceylon. It is remarkable for the
enormous size and curious shape of the nose membrane and
Lyre turtle (Zool.), the leatherback.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a harp used by ancient Greeks for accompaniment
The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906):
LYRE, n. An ancient instrument of torture. The word is now used in a
figurative sense to denote the poetic faculty, as in the following
fiery lines of our great poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
I sit astride Parnassus with my lyre,
And pick with care the disobedient wire.
That stupid shepherd lolling on his crook
With deaf attention scarcely deigns to look.
I bide my time, and it shall come at length,
When, with a Titan's energy and strength,
I'll grab a fistful of the strings, and O,
The word shall suffer when I let them go!