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

Definition of liken

transitive verb

: to represent as similar : compare

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Synonyms & Antonyms for liken



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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 Some Democrats liken Ryan to Sen. Sherrod Brown, an outspoken economic populist who won a commanding reelection victory in 2018. Julie Carr Smyth, Star Tribune, "In Ohio, open Senate seat sparks debate on gender, diversity," 2 Feb. 2021 Former believers interviewed by The Associated Press liken the process of leaving QAnon to kicking a drug addiction. David Klepper, ajc, "Checked by reality, some QAnon supporters seek a way out," 29 Jan. 2021 Xinjiang is home to China’s predominately Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority, which has been subject to extensive repression and human rights abuses including sterilization, leading observers to liken the campaign against them to genocide. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Who’s trying to weaken a US bill targeting forced labor in China?," 18 Dec. 2020 Critics liken them to a reward for flouting immigration laws. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, "Virginia to grant ‘driver privilege cards’ to illegal immigrants," 15 Dec. 2020 Politicians worried about deficit spending sometimes liken it to people relying too heavily on their credit cards and demand that the government live within its means. Arkansas Online, "Stimulus will outweigh costs," 5 Dec. 2020 It’s that everything does, a model that some public-health-minded scientists liken to stacking slices of Swiss cheese. Adam Rogers, Wired, "The Perfect Strategy to Fight Covid-19 Is … Everything?," 8 Dec. 2020 Belanger and other advocates for retroactivity liken the situation to Gideon v. Wainwright, the 1963 Supreme Court decision that required states to provide free attorneys to criminal defendants who couldn’t afford them. John Simerman,, "U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether ban on split jury verdicts should be retroactive," 1 Dec. 2020 Public health experts liken the approach to taking the keys away from a friend who might otherwise drive home drunk. Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, "‘How Did We Not Know?’ Gun Owners Confront a Suicide Epidemic," 17 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for liken

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for liken

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Liken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for liken

Nglish: Translation of liken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of liken for Arabic Speakers

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