li·​on·​ize | \ ˈlī-ə-ˌnīz How to pronounce lionize (audio) \
lionized; lionizing

Definition of lionize

transitive verb

: to treat as an object of great interest or importance

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Other Words from lionize

lionization \ ˌlī-​ə-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce lionization (audio) \ noun
lionizer \ ˈlī-​ə-​ˌnī-​zər How to pronounce lionizer (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

The lion is traditionally regarded as the king of beasts, and perhaps rightly so - the lion is brave, stately, and quite often ferocious. Those qualities that earn the lion respect from other creatures were probably in people's minds when, in the 18th century, lion came to be used for a person who is similarly well-regarded, especially after a long and distinguished career in a particular field. A veteran lawmaker might be considered one of the lions of the Senate; a literary lion has enjoyed a long career as a successful writer. This sense of lion forms the basis of lionize, which first appeared in English in the early 19th century.

Examples of lionize in a Sentence

She was lionized everywhere after her novel won the Pulitzer Prize.
Recent Examples on the Web Kurzel acknowledges that those who lionize Kelly as a model of machismo will likely take issue with these playful, homoerotically charged elements of his film. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ director, stars on their hypnotic outlaw saga," 23 Apr. 2020 Silicon Valley has long lionized leadership in times of crisis, whether in the parable of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs after he was fired from his own company or in the famous pivots of the likes of YouTube and Twitter. Matt Vella, Quartz, "Big Tech has exactly one job to do in a pandemic," 26 Mar. 2020 When the industry takes stock of its work during the coronavirus pandemic, whose leadership will be lionized then? Matt Vella, Quartz, "Big Tech has exactly one job to do in a pandemic," 26 Mar. 2020 Lyndon Johnson is lionized for the Civil Rights Act and demonized for the quagmire in Vietnam. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "How Trump will be remembered and Democrats' linguistic offensive," 22 Jan. 2020 He has been lionized in the state news media as no other Chinese leader has been since Mao. Chris Buckley,, "Hong Kong crisis tests confidence in Xi’s iron grasp," 7 Sep. 2019 Zionist discourse, especially in the early years, sometimes echoed anti-Semitic disdain for the pale, weak diaspora Jew while lionizing the tanned, sinewy farmer-soldier reestablishing the historic homeland. Ethan Bronner, The New York Review of Books, "Stuck," 12 Mar. 2020 Impassioned investors frequently take to Twitter to argue their positions and launch broadsides—lionizing Mr. Musk, predicting corporate bankruptcy and even complaining about car-service issues. Julia-ambra Verlaine, WSJ, "The Investor Clash Behind Tesla’s Surge Toward $100 Billion in Market Value," 20 Jan. 2020 But while Ben-Gurion is lionized in Israel as the pragmatic statesman who navigated the country through its formative years, Netanyahu’s legacy will no doubt remain more divisive. Washington Post, "Netanyahu is now Israel’s longest serving leader. Watch some of the key moments on his rocky road so far.," 20 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lionize.' 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 lionize

1809, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for lionize

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The first known use of lionize was in 1809

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Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lionize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for lionize


How to pronounce lionize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lionize

: to treat (someone) as a very important and famous person

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More from Merriam-Webster on lionize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lionize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lionize

Spanish Central: Translation of lionize

Nglish: Translation of lionize for Spanish Speakers

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