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90s Slang You Should Know


[en-lahy-vuh n] /ɛnˈlaɪ vən/
verb (used with object)
to make vigorous or active; invigorate:
The wit of Mencken enlivened his age.
to make sprightly or cheerful; brighten:
Flowers enliven any room.
Origin of enliven
1625-35; obsolete enlive to give life to (en-1 + life) + -en1
Related forms
enlivener, noun
enliveningly, adverb
enlivenment, noun
unenlivened, adjective
unenlivening, adjective
1. animate, inspirit, vivify, stimulate, quicken. 2. gladden.
2. depress.
Synonym Study
2. See cheer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for enliven
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We had no spur to enliven our thoughts in our monotonous life.

    On Commando Dietlof Van Warmelo
  • We need to clarify our ideals, and enliven our vision of perfection.

    The Sense of Beauty George Santayana
  • And the author of “Confusion Worse Confounded” tells a familiar story, which will enliven the history of our great critic.

  • On which their hostess sought to enliven the gravity of the question.

    The Outcry Henry James
  • If her mood was one less calculated to enliven and to cheer him, it was yet better adapted to make his confidence.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • The fresh air did not brighten and enliven her as it usually did.

    Christie Redfern's Troubles Margaret Robertson
British Dictionary definitions for enliven


verb (transitive)
to make active, vivacious, or spirited; invigorate
to make cheerful or bright; gladden or brighten
Derived Forms
enlivener, noun
enlivening, adjective
enlivenment, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for enliven

1630s, "give life to" (enlive in same sense is from 1590s); see en- (1) "make, put in" + life + -en (1). Meaning "make lively or cheerful" is from 1690s. Related: Enlivened; enlivening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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