live·ly | \ ˈlīv-lē \
livelier; liveliest

Definition of lively 

1 obsolete : living

2 : briskly alert and energetic : vigorous, animated a lively discussion lively children racing for home

3 : active, intense takes a lively interest in politics

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 : full of life, movement, or incident lively streets at carnival time

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Other words from lively

livelily \ˈlīv-lə-lē \ adverb
liveliness \ˈlīv-lē-nəs \ 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

Instead, Riley has slipped his radicalism into a lively, digestible, and a bit devious package. Joseph Bien-kahn, WIRED, "Radical As Ever, Boots Riley Takes On the Tech Boom," 4 July 2018 Trattoria di Monica and Vinoteca di Monica are two of the neighborhood’s best restaurants — unpretentious, lively, reliable. Kara Baskin,, "How to eat like a local in the North End," 3 July 2018 Its starry charm was backed by a breezy and deceptively dense script full of memorable characters, dizzyingly complex logistics and lively filmmaking that even Soderbergh himself couldn’t re-create in the two sequels. Lindsey Bahr, kansascity, "‘Ocean’s 8’ cruises through familiar waters with its talented all-star cast," 7 June 2018 Our on-board interpretive guide Angele Watrin Prodaehl and driver/guide Kevin Burke kept things lively — bear lore, bear bingo, lunch — and pointed out wildlife along the way like the snowy-white ptarmigan. Diane Bair And Pamela Wright,, "Greetings from polar bear country," 13 Mar. 2018 Weathers and Monnich have captured exactly that at their Stove & Tap, the multi-floor American bistro and bar that’s become a lively anchor of Lansdale’s resurgence. Craig Laban,, "The Bercy adds French brasserie sheen to thriving Ardmore scene," 13 July 2018 Of course, being a Viennese operetta, The Csárdás Princess reaches a happy ending, with a lot of lively music and dancing along the way. Albert Williams, Chicago Reader, "Love conquers all in The Csárdás Princess," 13 July 2018 The comment section on the Facebook post, as expected given the nature of the man’s wardrobe choice, turned into a rather lively forum. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "He wore underwear for the break-in — but not in the right place, video shows," 12 July 2018 Fans walk out of the formerly lively pub, which has become a sweaty room with not enough windows, and brace themselves for the hot sun. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "What it's like living through England's devastating World Cup loss at a British pub," 11 July 2018

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 1

History and Etymology for lively

Middle English, from Old English līflīc, from līf life

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Statistics for lively

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for lively

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

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More Definitions for lively



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 \
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

Comments on lively

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


the setting in which something occurs

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