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

Later, Charlotte Lawrence made her festival debut, playing to a lively crowd. Nicole Pajer, Billboard, "Winston House & 2332 Collective Make Sure West LA Music Scene Doesn't Fade Away," 2 July 2018 Huddersfield, buoyed by a lively home crowd, started well with much of their play coming down the right hand side as Quaner and Hadergjonaj combined., "Huddersfield 1-0 Watford: Last Gasp Tom Ince Goal Moves Terriers 3 Points Closer to Safety," 14 Apr. 2018 The festival, in its 38th year, will draw a lively crowd to the heart of Phoenix. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "Phoenix Pride: The parade, the performers and everything you need to know to attend," 3 Apr. 2018 Before a lively crowd at the Golden Gate Restaurant, members of the ShaoLin Center in Waukesha performed the energetic lion dance, a traditional Chinese dance showcased at big events. Christopher Kuhagen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha's Golden Gate Restaurant celebrates Chinese New Year with lively lion dance," 18 Feb. 2018 Sure, the Ducks just lost to Oregon State in Corvallis in front of a relatively lively crowd, but the degree of difficulty will raise exponentially this week. Tyson Alger,, "Oregon Ducks looking for a spark heading into tough Arizona roadtrip," 10 Jan. 2018 In addition to its memorialization in the Al Alberts classic, the community is known for its gingerbread architecture, its annual jazz festival and a lively arts scene. Shannon Rooney,, "It's Shore Time: On the way to Cape May," 11 June 2018 If this were the year of our Lord 2003, the show’s producers would’ve offered us a short, lively scene of Becca having her heart ripped out of her chest. Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, "The Bachelor Finale Was Enough to Make You Nostalgic for Paradise Hotel," 7 Mar. 2018 The visual sees a lively strip club scene with Flo Rida lounging in his seat, throwing money in the air as one particular dancer catches his eye. Wandera Hussein, Billboard, "Flo Rida Falls in Love at the Gentlemen's Club in New Song & Video 'Dancer'," 2 Mar. 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

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


full of whispering sounds

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