liv·​en ˈlī-vən How to pronounce liven (audio)
livened; livening ˈlī-və-niŋ How to pronounce liven (audio)

transitive verb

: enliven
often used with up
he … livened up the editorial pageCurrent Biography

Example Sentences

He played some music to liven the atmosphere.
Recent Examples on the Web This set comes with 20 brightly colored, 10-inch straws to liven up any party. Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 13 Feb. 2023 Another approach could be to eat the right foods to liven up the bedroom. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 13 Oct. 2022 This comes in grey, black, white, or a vibrant red to liven up your storage. Chris Hachey, BGR, 14 June 2021 Still others try to liven up a routine visit with quaint adornments like a joke plaque or bumper stickers. Priya Krishna, New York Times, 21 Dec. 2022 After collecting one gilded gramophone after another for his hip-swaying hits — most recently as Silk Sonic with Anderson .Paak — the Grammy-winning musician aims to liven things up with his rum brand, SelvaRey. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 June 2022 Pharmacies and bank branches were hogging such huge swaths of the once-varied streetscape that, in an attempt to liven things up, the City Council passed a bill requiring at least 50 percent of a store’s street-level walls to be transparent. Curbed, 2 Mar. 2022 Dry some slices to make a garland, or liven things up a little by making sparkling oranges, with Prosecco or nonalcoholic bubbly. Christine Lennon, Sunset Magazine, 10 Dec. 2021 This kind of T-shirt communication does a lot to liven things up. Haruki Murakami, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'liven.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1628, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of liven was circa 1628

Dictionary Entries Near liven

Cite this Entry

“Liven.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


liv·​en ˈlī-vən How to pronounce liven (audio)
livened; livening ˈlīv-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce liven (audio)
: to make or become lively
often used with up

More from Merriam-Webster on liven

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

What Did You Just Call Me?

  • brown chihuahua sitting on the floor with squinting eyes looking at the camera
  • Before we went to her house, Hannah told us her aunt was a flibbertigibbet.
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?