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

transitive verb

: to represent as similar : compare

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 Some are likening his ouster to Steve Jobs being fired at Apple, a sign of how momentous the shakeup feels amid an AI boom that has rejuvenated Silicon Valley. Bysteve Mollman, Fortune, 19 Nov. 2023 South Africa’s strong support for Palestinians dates back to former President Nelson Mandela’s days, with the country likening their plight to its own before the end of apartheid in 1994. NBC News, 16 Nov. 2023 Jeff Wapner, a nonpartisan voter interviewed Tuesday in Santa Barbara, likened Biden and Trump, 77, to his parents, who are in their late 70s. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2023 At a moment when the Western news media, and some major Arab outlets, were full of reports about the many civilians who were slaughtered, and Israeli officials were likening Hamas to ISIS, the footage was apparently Hamas’s rebuttal. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023 The narrator likens this to trying on a dress that’s been forgotten at the back of the closet. Willing Davidson, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 The film’s spell in the media sunshine was only extended when in March it was suddenly pulled from cinemas in Hong Kong having unwittingly strayed into a Chinese crackdown on Winnie-the-Pooh imagery that was sparked by memes likening the character to Xi Jinping. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Nov. 2023 During his ascent, business partners likened him to John Pierpont Morgan, the pioneering banker who once dominated the finance industry. J. Edward Moreno, New York Times, 3 Nov. 2023 Several likened the experience to being infected with ransomware. Wes Davis, The Verge, 28 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'liken.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near liken

Cite this Entry

“Liken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


lik·​en ˈlī-kən How to pronounce liken (audio)
likened; likening ˈlīk-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce liken (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on liken

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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