live·​ly | \ ˈlīv-lē How to pronounce lively (audio) \
livelier; liveliest

Definition of lively

1 : briskly alert and energetic : vigorous, animated a lively discussion lively children racing for home
2 : active, intense takes a lively interest in politics
3 : full of life, movement, or incident lively streets at carnival time
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 obsolete : living

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Other Words from lively

livelily \ ˈlīv-​lə-​lē How to pronounce livelily (audio) \ adverb
liveliness \ ˈlīv-​lē-​nəs How to pronounce liveliness (audio) \ 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 result was Sunday's all-day event, featuring a march starting on Hollywood Boulevard and ending in West Hollywood, as well as lively performances, art and nonstop dancing. NBC News, "Black Lives Matter forces LGBTQ organization to face its history of racial exclusion," 22 June 2020 William Hogeland’s lively and engaging book reveals the underlying financial conflict behind the shooting war. Zachary D. Carter, WSJ, "Five Best: Zachary D. Carter on Financial Crises," 19 June 2020 Marble’s social media feed always included lively discussions about neurodiversity and LGBTQ issues. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘It’s almost like there’s this monster inside of you’," 19 June 2020 Urban Cowboy B&BNashville, TennesseeThis adult hotel (meaning only guests 21 and older are allowed) is located in East Nashville, with eight themed suites; claw foot bathtubs; and a lively bar and restaurant out back. Shauna Beni, Condé Nast Traveler, "Black-Owned Hotels Throughout the World," 17 June 2020 Segura Viudas Cava Rosado features a Trepat grape lending intense fruitiness, lively color and a lovely, approachable balance. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "7 Wines You Need To Try For National Rosé Day," 13 June 2020 Tacos and more in a lively setting, graffiti art on the walls. Marc Bona, cleveland, "13 great dining choices in, near Pinecrest development (photos)," 9 June 2020 Reimagining works by master dramatists Anton Chekhov, Luigi Pirandello, August Strindberg, and surrealist writer Guillaume Apollinaire, this lively, eclectic collection reaches into the past and finds surprising echoes in the present. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's 'Fix it, Black Girl' celebrates the resilience and power of black women," 9 June 2020 Thanks to the efforts of the British Library, this lively scrapbook of medieval society is now available to read free online. The Economist, "Craft from the past Leaf through the newly digitised “St Albans Benefactors’ Book”," 8 June 2020

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 8

History and Etymology for lively

Middle English, from Old English līflīc, from līf life

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Time Traveler for lively

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for lively

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lively.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for lively


How to pronounce lively (audio)

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 How to pronounce lively (audio) \
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

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