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[lahy-kuh n] /ˈlaɪ kən/
verb (used with object)
to represent as similar or like; compare:
to liken someone to a weasel.
Origin of liken
First recorded in 1275-1325, liken is from the Middle English word liknen. See like1, -en1
Related forms
unlikened, adjective
Can be confused
lichen, liken. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for liken
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If we liken them to gold, she has made her assay and says the gold is pure.

    Jesus the Christ James Edward Talmage
  • "You do well to liken yourself to the melancholy Jaques," she replied.

    Loss and Gain John Henry Newman
  • “Yes, yes; but it becomes not me to liken myself to such a man,” he answered.

    The Golden Grasshopper W.H.G. Kingston
  • There are descriptions of the creeper's music which liken it to a wren's.

    Birds in the Bush

    Bradford Torrey
  • It's no that difficult to busk the hooks; maybe you would be liken' to try.


    Janet Milne Rae
  • Perhaps we may liken it most to a bubble such as boys blow from soap suds.

    The Lady of Lynn

    Walter Besant
  • When there is no wind at all we may liken it to the navigation of a smooth lake or pond.

    My Airships Alberto Santos-Dumont
British Dictionary definitions for liken


(transitive) to see or represent as the same or similar; compare
Word Origin
C14: from like1 (adj)
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 liken

late 13c., "to represent as like," from like (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Likened; likening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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