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I've been workin' on the railroad, all the livelong day. So goes the American folk standard, and nowadays when we encounter the word livelong it is typically in the phrase "all the livelong day" or something similar. Although we don't see "livelong" much in prose anymore poets still love the word, possibly for its two distinct, alliterative syllables. Despite the resemblance, "livelong" does not mean the same thing as "lifelong" (as in "a lifelong friend"). In fact, the words are not closely related: the "live" in livelong derives from "lef," a Middle English word meaning "dear or beloved."
Origin and Etymology of livelong
Middle English lef long, from lef dear + long — more at lief
First Known Use: 15th century
LIVELONG Defined for Kids
Definition of livelong for Students
: during all of <We worked the livelong day.>
Seen and Heard
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