li·​on·​ize | \ ˈlī-ə-ˌnīz \
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 \ noun
lionizer \ ˈlī-​ə-​ˌnī-​zər \ 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

He's lionized for advocating a heliocentric view of our solar system, spurning Church doctrine and becoming a heretic. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Newfound Galileo Letter Suggests He Lied to Dupe the Church and Avoid Persecution," 25 Sep. 2018 But even as Uribe was lionized by millions in Colombia, his record on human rights was under fire. Washington Post, "Colombia presidential front-runner dogged by mentor’s shadow," 14 June 2018 Penning visceral verses about the ugly truths of jealousy and overcoming his insecurities as an openly gay black man, Smollett is morphing into a force bigger than his epochal character Jamal Lyons, who is lionized by TV junkies. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Jussie Smollett on His New Album 'Sum of My Music' & Taking Ownership of His Life: 'I've Never Sold Myself to Anybody'," 6 June 2018 Even after he was rewarded and lionized — he was given a Guggenheim fellowship in 1973, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters award in 1990, a MacArthur fellowship in 1991 and the Kyoto Prize in 2014 — his music was not easy to quantify. Ben Ratliff,, "Cecil Taylor, 89, pianist who moved beyond jazz idiom," 7 Apr. 2018 Reiner’s film lionizes journalists from the Knight Ridder newspaper consortium who challenged the official narrative about weapons of mass destruction, even while respected outlets such as the New York Times failed to do so. Kerry Lengel, azcentral, "Liberal outrage in Rob Reiner's 'Shock and Awe'," 12 July 2018 The district’s rundown streets are plastered with banners lionizing those killed in recent battles with Islamic State. Isabel Coles And, WSJ, "After Defeating Islamic State, Iraq’s Shiites Turn Ire Toward Government," 12 Mar. 2018 In Cleveland, James was lionized for reasons beyond basketball. Lee Jenkins,, "Inside Decision 3.0: LeBron James Follows in the Footsteps of Legends," 1 July 2018 But Giuliani's statements have been inconsistent and have failed to rally the president's media boosters, who often lionize his fiercest surrogates and embrace their talking points. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "Giuliani fails to impress pro-Trump media," 7 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near lionize





lion lizard



Statistics for lionize

Last Updated

23 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lionize

The first known use of lionize was in 1809

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More Definitions for lionize



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lionize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lionize

Spanish Central: Translation of lionize

Nglish: Translation of lionize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on lionize

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


someone who never drinks alcohol

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