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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 likening
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was fond of likening his suite of office rooms to the bottom of a ship.

    Whirligigs O. Henry
  • To the first part alone he gave his approval, likening it to the Song of Solomon.

    Balzac Frederick Lawton
  • Therefore likening God to man is not so degrading as likening Him to mere natural forces.

    The Truth of Christianity William Harry Turton
  • The policeman's figure of speech, likening the lodgers to "herrings in a barrel," accurately described the scene.

    The Fallen Leaves Wilkie Collins
  • This likening of Mr. H—n T—g to a star caused much merriment among that gentleman's former friends and acquaintances.

    Mr. Crewe's Career, Complete Winston Churchill
  • 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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