live·​long ˈliv-ˌlȯŋ How to pronounce livelong (audio)
: whole, entire
the livelong day

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"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."

Examples of livelong in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In fact, all that high-minded thinking sounds more like how some bloodless and very smart computer might happily spend the livelong day. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 4 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'livelong.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near livelong

Cite this Entry

“Livelong.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


live·​long ˌliv-ˌlȯŋ How to pronounce livelong (audio)
: during the whole of : entire
worked all the livelong day

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