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 lividness (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

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 Hughes, then Cathy Liggins, was livid about his move to their competitor station. Ericka Blount Danois, Essence, "Play Another Slow Jam: An Oral History of The Quiet Storm," 26 June 2020 The airlines, and the hospitality industry, are livid, believing more travellers will stay away, causing irreparable damage to their struggling businesses. The Economist, "Business this week," 13 June 2020 In 2013, the Fraternal Order of Police and others were livid when the Ohio State Highway Patrol used that money to pay for travel expenses, hotel rooms, meals and logo polo shirts, according to a Columbus Dispatch report. Jessie Balmert,, "Ohio requires fewer hours of training for police officers than barbers. That could change.," 12 June 2020 When the institution went belly up, like so many others in the 1930s, my grandfather was livid. John Gurda, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The coronavirus pandemic, collapsing economy and civil unrest are frightening. Wisconsin has seen worse and recovered.," 4 June 2020 There are other steps Brees will need to take with his teammates and fellow athletes, many of whom were livid with him. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Drew Brees needs to do more than apologize for comments on protests," 4 June 2020 The pandemic ruined Tesla’s momentum, and Elon Musk is livid. New York Times, "Unemployment Claims to Show More Jobs Are Vanishing: Live Updates," 14 May 2020 My abdomen was swollen and covered in livid bruises from the C-section and the subsequent surgery. Ariane Chang, The New York Review of Books, "‘Corona Maman’: A Paris Clinic’s First Covid-19 Delivery," 2 Apr. 2020 Defense: Surviving big plays The Broncos almost let another second-half lead slip away and the defense would have been livid over the two touchdown passes by Philip Rivers if that happened. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Status Report: The 19,000-plus no-shows miss a thrilling ending," 1 Dec. 2019

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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Livid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for livid


How to pronounce livid (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on livid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for livid

Spanish Central: Translation of livid

Nglish: Translation of livid for Spanish Speakers

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