lik·​en | \ ˈlī-kən How to pronounce liken (audio) \
likened; likening\ ˈlī-​kə-​niŋ How to pronounce likening (audio) , ˈlīk-​niŋ \

Definition of liken

transitive verb

: to represent as similar : compare

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Synonyms & Antonyms for liken


analogize, assimilate, bracket, compare, equate



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Examples of liken in a Sentence

he generally likened a root canal to some horrible form of torture I think that we can liken the two pianists, at least in terms of natural talent.

Recent Examples on the Web

Roberts went on to liken her time working with Washington on The Pelican Brief to working with The Beatles. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Chadwick Boseman calls Denzel Washington the 'G.O.A.T' and other highlights from his AFI Life Achievement tribute," 7 June 2019 The cities have likened the actions of the oil industry to tobacco companies, which sought to cover up research into lung cancer and have been held responsible for the health damage caused by smoking. Kurtis Alexander,, "Oil companies want SF, Oakland climate lawsuits dismissed," 24 May 2018 One researcher likened it to replacing the battery or the starter in a car rather than buying a new one. Caren Chesler, Popular Mechanics, "A Vision Quest," 6 Mar. 2019 The official likened it to a Lego design, pulling pieces from different prototypes. CBS News, "Tactical teams test Trump's border wall prototypes with jackhammers, saws, torches," 19 Jan. 2018 Especially because Kelly herself likened it to one of our favorite former sitcoms, Designing Women. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson's 'Voice' Outfit Was Inspired by 'Designing Women' and Fans Are Losing It," 30 Apr. 2019 Christina Agapakis, Ginkgo’s Creative Director and biotech leader, likened the process to brewing beer. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "You Can Now Smell a Flower That Went Extinct a Century Ago," 16 Apr. 2019 Krantz likened the situation to that of the town’s other taproom, Independent Brewing Co. in the 400 block of North Main Street, which opened in late 2015. Allan Vought, The Aegis, "Bel Air may expand food truck zone to include Main and Baltimore Pike," 13 Apr. 2018 Gaultier likens the samba school’s creative work to a fashion designer’s—both work intensively for six months for a few minutes in the spotlight. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Sambas His Way Through Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval," 22 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'liken.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of liken

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for liken

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for liken

The first known use of liken was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for liken


lik·​en | \ ˈlī-kən How to pronounce liken (audio) \
likened; likening

Kids Definition of liken

: to describe as similar to : compare They liken their car to a taxi.

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More from Merriam-Webster on liken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with liken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for liken

Spanish Central: Translation of liken

Nglish: Translation of liken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of liken for Arabic Speakers

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