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 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 Instead, Christon likens himself to Walter Payton because of his father’s fondness for the legendary Chicago Bears running back. Dan Greenspan, The Denver Post, "Depleted USC turns to first year RB Kenan Christon to take on Buffs," 22 Oct. 2019 At one point, Philippe likens the concept to cymatics, in which plates or membranes vibrate in resonance with sound waves to produce patterns on their surface that reflect the substrate's modal vibrations. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Alien’s origin story chestbursts anew in stirring new documentary," 11 Oct. 2019 The 26-year-old honoree likens the rise of women in music to women’s suffrage -- both indelible feats where women mobilized for their right to speak up. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Victoria Monét, Shari Bryant & Britney Davis Honored at ASCAP's Uplifting 'Women Behind the Music' Event," 10 Oct. 2019 Kirwan likens ghost forests to other drastic markers of environmental change. Tik Root, Time, "Ghost Forests Are Visceral Examples of the Advance of Climate Change," 7 Oct. 2019 Danielson likens the task of making blind-readable websites to designing wheelchair accessible buildings. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Domino’s Delivers a Dilemma to the Supreme Court: A Website Accessibility Case That Could Impact Thousands of Companies," 3 Oct. 2019 Tinkle likens his situation to Jackson, who decided to come back for his senior year at Oregon and became one of college basketball’s best that season. oregonlive, "Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle on eve of Beavers’ first 2019-20 practice: ‘The last thing I need to do … is play in the NCAA tournament’," 23 Sep. 2019 To illustrate the point, Carter likens cuticle layer of the hair to the trunk a palm tree. Nicole Blades, Good Housekeeping, "Why You Should Use Olive Oil for Your Hair," 16 Sep. 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

Statistics for liken

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for liken

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

See more words from the same century

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 engage in dissolute behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!