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 Things take a remarkable turn toward the end, but getting there requires patience with the film’s insistent style, and with slow-burn, deadpan sequences that qualify as absurd but aren’t all that lively. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Kajillionaire’ Review: Lowbrow Larceny," 24 Sep. 2020 Like any good beach party, the scene on the sidewalk Saturday around the shuttered Elbo Room was lively, with pounding music, dogs, and people milling about in floppy hats and swim trunks. Megan O'matz,, "Broward bars’ continued closure protested: 'It doesn’t make any sense’," 19 Sep. 2020 Join director Lois Hiller on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. for a lively discussion of Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox., "Community news for the Enfield edition," 24 Sep. 2020 The finding sparked a lively debate about A.I. bias. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "How would Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom redesign TikTok as CEO?," 22 Sep. 2020 Things got so bad in the last decade that many websites put the kibosh on comments altogether, trading the hope of lively, interactive debate for the promise of peace and quiet. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "To Clean Up Comments, Let AI Tell Users Their Words Are Trash," 22 Sep. 2020 The nearly daily gatherings around the Martin dinner table were especially lively that fall en route to an Indiana state title. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "All-in: Zack Martin is taking the same approach to fatherhood that made him one of the best guards in the NFL," 18 Sep. 2020 If their lively discussion after the screening is any indication, The First Step will definitely be a conversation starter. Sara Pagones | Staff Writer,, "Locally produced video aims to start conversations about race," 18 Sep. 2020 Whether your group is after a lively party scene or simply wants to unplug, Tulum delivers. Skye Sherman, Travel + Leisure, "The Best Girlfriend Getaways Around the World for a Weekend Escape," 29 Aug. 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

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lively.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 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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Comments on lively

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