liv·​id | \ ˈli-vəd How to pronounce livid (audio) \

Definition of livid

1 : discolored by bruising : black-and-blue the livid traces of the sharp scourges— Abraham Cowley
2 : ashen, pallid this cross, thy livid face, thy pierced hands and feet— Walt Whitman
3 : reddish a fan of gladiolas blushed livid under the electric letters— Truman Capote
4 : very angry : enraged was livid at his son's disobedience

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Other Words from livid

lividness \ ˈli-​vəd-​nəs How to pronounce livid (audio) \ noun

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Livid has a colorful history. The Latin adjective lividus means "dull, grayish, or leaden blue." From this came the French livide and eventually the English "livid," which was used to describe flesh discolored by a bruise when it was first recorded in the early 17th century. A slight extension of meaning gave it the sense "ashen or pallid," as used in describing a corpse. "Livid" eventually came to be used in this sense to characterize the complexion of a person pale with anger ("livid with rage"). From this meaning came two new senses in the 20th century. One was "reddish," as one is as likely to become red with anger as pale; the other was simply "angry" or "furious," the most common sense of the word today.

Examples of livid in a Sentence

the boss was livid when yet another deadline was missed her face was livid with fear
Recent Examples on the Web Earlier this month, when the Supreme Court left Obamacare in place for the third time, Justice Samuel Alito was livid. Joan Biskupic, CNN, 30 June 2021 The week after Rebecca Grant took away her kids’ video games for a month, after a year of relaxed pandemic rules, her 10-year-old son was livid. Washington Post, 24 June 2021 Anokunte notes the three major labels (Universal, Sony, Warner) are all public companies beholden to shareholders, who would be livid if labels relinquished their most valuable assets. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 15 June 2021 Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, who finds himself at the center of a raging storm over homelessness in his district, isn’t surprised that so many of his constituents on the Westside are livid. Steve Lopez Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2021 Cardinals manager Mike Shildt was so livid in the aftermath that he got ejected from the game. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 11 June 2021 Others are just livid that the garden, once full of color and flowers, had been made dull and lifeless. Lydia Wang,, 29 Apr. 2021 But the 45th president insisted the state’s 16 Electoral College votes were stolen and grew livid with the governor in the weeks after the election for refusing to assist in overturning the results. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, 6 Apr. 2021 There was no Madonna in her blue cloak, no Mary Magdalene in red, but, rather, three Furies from Aeschylus’ Oresteia, gray-white creatures, monstrously truncated, looming from a livid orange background. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, 17 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'livid.' 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 livid

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for livid

French livide, from Latin lividus, from livēre to be blue; akin to Welsh lliw color and probably to Russian sliva plum

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Time Traveler for livid

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

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Last Updated

3 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Livid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for livid



English Language Learners Definition of livid

: very angry
literary : having a dark purplish color


liv·​id | \ ˈli-vəd How to pronounce livid (audio) \

Kids Definition of livid

1 : very angry
2 : pale as ashes Her face was livid with fear.
3 : discolored by bruising His cheek was livid.


liv·​id | \ ˈliv-əd How to pronounce livid (audio) \

Medical Definition of livid

: discolored by bruising : black-and-blue

More from Merriam-Webster on livid

Nglish: Translation of livid for Spanish Speakers


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