live·​long | \ ˈliv-ˌlȯŋ How to pronounce livelong (audio) \

Definition of livelong

: whole, entire the livelong day

Did You Know?

I've been workin' on the railroad, all the livelong day. So goes the American folk standard, and nowadays when we encounter the word livelong it is typically in the phrase "all the livelong day" or something similar. Although we don't see "livelong" much in prose anymore poets still love the word, possibly for its two distinct, alliterative syllables. Despite the resemblance, "livelong" does not mean the same thing as "lifelong" (as in "a lifelong friend"). In fact, the words are not closely related: the "live" in livelong derives from "lef," a Middle English word meaning "dear or beloved."

First Known Use of livelong

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for livelong

Middle English lef long, from lef dear + long — more at lief

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Time Traveler for livelong

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The first known use of livelong was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Livelong.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for livelong


live·​long | \ ˈliv-ˌlȯng How to pronounce livelong (audio) \

Kids Definition of livelong

: during all of We worked the livelong day.

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More from Merriam-Webster on livelong

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with livelong

Spanish Central: Translation of livelong

Nglish: Translation of livelong for Spanish Speakers

Comments on livelong

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


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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