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

The Charles James theme was lively and highly anticipated, with a display of 100 of his most important designs. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "21 Years of Met Gala Themes: A Look Back at Many First Mondays in May," 9 Oct. 2018 Power outages were nothing new in the neighborhood and the Flanagans, both 86, were lively and energetic. Alan Suderman, Fox News, "Fire that killed couple, 86, shows Florence's broad reach," 19 Sep. 2018 But Cameron Post is lively and funny and deeply sympathetic to all of its characters. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "How to tell stories about evangelical Christians that neither mock nor glorify them," 18 Aug. 2018 The Queen was lively and all smiles at Tuesday’s event, which began with a service at Westminster Abbey and will continue with an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Erin Hill,, "Queen Elizabeth Is Back in Action One Day After Missing Great-Grandson Prince Louis' Christening," 10 July 2018 From New York to California, July Fourth festivities were at times lively and lighthearted., "Americans celebrate nation’s birthday, lament divisions," 4 July 2018 Don’t miss the revitalized red light district Sa Gerreria, either, which is especially lively on Tuesday evenings, when all the tapas bars offer cut-price pintxos and beer. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Visit in August," 27 June 2018 Despite censors, Chinese internet chat rooms for veterans are still lively with talk of the various protests. Chris Buckley, New York Times, "Marching Across China, Army Veterans Join Ranks of Protesters," 25 June 2018 So that the movement can be as lively as the speech, there’s a dedicated ensemble of supporting dancers to make sure that scenes set in a dance club or a busy street really kick. Christopher Arnott,, "A Highly Entertaining, Energetic 'In the Heights' At Playhouse On Park," 18 June 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

2 Dec 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).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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