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

Other Words from lionize

lionization \ ˌlī-​ə-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce lionize (audio) \ noun
lionizer \ ˈlī-​ə-​ˌnī-​zər How to pronounce lionize (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 But mounted police also have a dark history of racial injustice, one that’s often ignored in the TV shows and films that lionize forces like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, known as the Mounties, and the Texas Rangers. Ikya Kandula, Outside Online, 25 June 2020 His character — only referred to as Nitram, so as not to lionize the actual shooter, who remains in prison — plods through the movie like an intimidatingly oversized child. New York Times, 1 Apr. 2022 Some of those prisoners will seek to lionize her while others will attempt to exploit her, said Paperny. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, 3 Jan. 2022 The film does not lionize the character, but building a film around this character, today, will be several bridges too far for any number of viewers. Michael Phillips,, 15 Dec. 2021 In the early 1990s, comics fandom culture had begun to lionize artists over writers. Nola Pfau, Vulture, 1 Oct. 2021 Yet the urge to lionize new voices and to celebrate open explorations of intimacy across gender and sexuality does not suddenly relegate criticism to the sidelines. Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times, 6 July 2021 Shooters often lionize and emulate those coming before them. Thomas Gabor, Fortune, 10 May 2021 Atwater writes that Jackson talked him into resigning from Howard’s board with a promise to lionize Atwater for doing so. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 6 May 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of lionize

1809, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of lionize was in 1809

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Dictionary Entries Near lionize



lion lizard

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Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lionize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of lionize for Spanish Speakers


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