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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for likening
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If she says she is sorry for likening me to Winfield, I will tell her who sent the roses.

    Polly in New York Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • To the first part alone he gave his approval, likening it to the Song of Solomon.

    Balzac Frederick Lawton
  • He was fond of likening his suite of office rooms to the bottom of a ship.


    O. Henry
  • It is hard to say what "exquisite reason" Cervantes can have had for likening a girl's eyes to emeralds above all other gems.

    The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • The policeman's figure of speech, likening the lodgers to "herrings in a barrel," accurately described the scene.

    The Fallen Leaves Wilkie Collins
  • But her nature, which the lover had greatly belied in likening it to her name, was not cold enough for this.

    Orley Farm

    Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for likening


(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 likening



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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