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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for liken



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 people on Twitter likened the noise to gunshots or a bomb going off. David Harris,, "Hear explosion or boom near Maitland and Winter Park? Here’s what it was," 21 Nov. 2019 Both photographer Sheila Pree Bright and dancer Lexy Lattimore likened Rice to the mother of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Artists and activists seek to honor Tamir Rice’s legacy through cultural center, restoration of gazebo," 21 Nov. 2019 Others likened her unique look to a paper airplane, a set of wings, and the back of an envelope. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Fans Are Buzzing About Kelly Clarkson’s Futuristic Dress," 19 Nov. 2019 The court likened the study to the notorious Tuskegee experiment in Alabama beginning in the 1930s where treatment was withheld for black men with syphilis so the toll could be documented. Meredith Cohn,, "Court orders Kennedy Krieger to pay woman harmed in 1990s-era lead paint study," 14 Nov. 2019 Marin County Fire Chief Graham Groneman likened the Tuesday evening routine to living in a pocket of normalcy, uncertain of what nightfall would bring. Lizzie Johnson,, "On the Kincade Fire lines, crews readied for flames that thankfully never arrived," 30 Oct. 2019 Nor is likening these new Wednesday Night Wars to their Monday forerunners a perfect comparison. Dan Greene,, "Wrestling’s New ‘Wednesday Night Wars’ Are a Throwback to the Sport’s ’90s Heyday," 3 Oct. 2019 Last week Beckham likened their situation to a baseball lineup that has a leadoff hitter and a No. Scott Patsko,, "How Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are leading Browns wide receivers," 29 July 2019 Mark Dixon, chief executive of International Workplace Group, likens WeWork’s approach to running a hotel where room service is free. Peter Eavis, New York Times, "‘It’s Definitely Pretty Empty’: Why Saving WeWork Will Be Hard," 24 Oct. 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.

See More

First Known Use of liken

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about liken

Time Traveler for liken

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for liken

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Liken.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on liken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for liken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with liken

Spanish Central: Translation of liken

Nglish: Translation of liken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of liken for Arabic Speakers

Comments on liken

What made you want to look up liken? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to accept, comply, or submit

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!