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

Keep scrolling for more

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 On Sunday, message threads lionizing the recent mass shooters were eclipsed by 8chan users mourning Cloudflare’s decision. NBC News, "Network provider Cloudflare to drop 8chan after El Paso shooting," 5 Aug. 2019 Müller’s work lionized the invaders’ northern origins, which dovetailed into the early evolution of Nordicism, the pseudo-anthropological notion of a Nordic master race that would become a cornerstone of Nazi ideology. Myke Cole, The New Republic, "The Sparta Fetish Is a Cultural Cancer," 1 Aug. 2019 She was lionized by many for capturing their feelings about the Trump presidency. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "She famously flipped off the president. Now Juli Briskman is running for office.," 18 July 2019 The team's cause has already drawn in political leaders, sparked widespread debate and both lionized and villainized some players. Rick Maese And Ava Wallace,, "The US women’s soccer team’s battle for equality is transcending sport," 10 July 2019 But protesters have also lionized the dead as martyrs, filling candlelight memorials with origami cranes, white flowers and messages of perseverance. Alice Su,, "Protesters march as Hong Kong marks its 1997 handover from British to Chinese rule," 30 June 2019 At the beginning of the 20th century, Holmes was lionized as the greatest legal thinker of his time by progressives who celebrated his dissenting opinions arguing for the protection of free speech and the upholding of economic regulations. Jeffrey Rosen, Washington Post, "Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and the dangers of moral certainty," 27 June 2019 From Henry Ford to Donald Trump, America has lionized business leaders (and shameless bankrupts) who disdain history. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "1998 Was a Seinfeld Election—Not an Impeachment Referendum," 6 June 2019 So why isn’t Guy-Blaché’s name as lionized as Méliès, Lumière and her Fort Lee neighbor Thomas Edison? Ann Hornaday, Twin Cities, "Female film pioneer gets her due in enlightening documentary ‘Be Natural’," 13 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of lionize

1809, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lionize

Listen to Our Podcast about lionize

Statistics for lionize

Last Updated

28 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for lionize

The first known use of lionize was in 1809

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


a calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!