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

Definition of livelong

: 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."

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

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Livelong.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on livelong

Nglish: Translation of livelong for Spanish Speakers

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