live·ly | \ˈlīv-lē \
livelier; liveliest

Definition of lively 

1 obsolete : living

2 : briskly alert and energetic : vigorous, animated a lively discussion lively children racing for home

3 : active, intense takes a lively interest in politics

4 : brilliant, fresh a lively wit

5 : imparting spirit or vivacity : stimulating many a peer of England brews livelier liquor than the Muse— A. E. Housman

6 : quick to rebound : resilient a lively ball

7 : responding readily to the helm a lively boat

8 : full of life, movement, or incident lively streets at carnival time

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Other Words from lively

livelily \ˈlīv-lə-lē \ adverb
liveliness \ˈlīv-lē-nəs \ noun
lively adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for lively

lively, animated, vivacious, sprightly, gay mean keenly alive and spirited. lively suggests briskness, alertness, or energy. a lively debate on the issues animated applies to what is spirited and active. an animated discussion of current events vivacious suggests an activeness of gesture and wit, often playful or alluring. a vivacious party host sprightly suggests lightness and spirited vigor of manner or wit. a tuneful, sprightly musical gay stresses complete freedom from care and overflowing spirits. the gay spirit of Paris in the 1920s

Examples of lively in a Sentence

a very lively writing style The book is lively and well written. They had a lively debate. A lively atmosphere keeps people coming back to the café.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In addition to its memorialization in the Al Alberts classic, the community is known for its gingerbread architecture, its annual jazz festival and a lively arts scene. Shannon Rooney,, "It's Shore Time: On the way to Cape May," 11 June 2018 If this were the year of our Lord 2003, the show’s producers would’ve offered us a short, lively scene of Becca having her heart ripped out of her chest. Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, "The Bachelor Finale Was Enough to Make You Nostalgic for Paradise Hotel," 7 Mar. 2018 The visual sees a lively strip club scene with Flo Rida lounging in his seat, throwing money in the air as one particular dancer catches his eye. Wandera Hussein, Billboard, "Flo Rida Falls in Love at the Gentlemen's Club in New Song & Video 'Dancer'," 2 Mar. 2018 The Bistro has been drawing crowds for a decade, with a lively bar scene and iconic comfort food (meatloaf, roast chicken) flawlessly executed. Vicky Lowry, ELLE Decor, "ELLE DECOR Goes to Jackson Hole," 6 July 2011 Most are a blend of essential oils that keep hair looking lively. Adam Hurly, GQ, "The Best Hair Products for Men 2018," 14 June 2018 This lively discussion clearly warranted a bit of research. Janna Irons, Outside Online, "The 5 Best Travel Credit Cards," 30 May 2018 But the arrest last month of Joseph James DeAngelo at his long-time home has prompted a lively discussion among Sacramento real estate brokers and appraisers. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "What if the suspected East Area Rapist's home went on the market? Would you buy? | The Sacramento Bee," 25 May 2018 An exhibition about the value of art included a Constructivist piece — a glass case full of coins, with a water faucet — that spurred a lively discussion about how each person had handled their finances. Sally Mcgrane, New York Times, "In Germany, the Power of Art in the Twilight of Life," 21 Mar. 2018

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lively

Middle English, from Old English līflīc, from līf life

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Statistics for lively

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for lively

The first known use of lively was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for lively



English Language Learners Definition of lively

: very active and energetic

: full of energy, excitement, or feeling

: full of movement or activity


live·ly | \ˈlīv-lē \
livelier; liveliest

Kids Definition of lively

1 : full of life : active a lively puppy

2 : showing or resulting from active thought a lively imagination

3 : full of spirit or feeling : animated lively music

Other Words from lively

liveliness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on lively

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lively

Spanish Central: Translation of lively

Nglish: Translation of lively for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lively for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lively

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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