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[lahy-uh-nahyz] /ˈlaɪ əˌnaɪz/
verb (used with object), lionized, lionizing.
to treat (a person) as a celebrity:
to lionize the visiting poet.
British. to visit or exhibit the objects of interest of (a place).
verb (used without object), lionized, lionizing.
to pursue celebrities or seek their company.
British. to visit the objects of interest of a place.
Also, especially British, lionise.
Origin of lionize
First recorded in 1800-10; lion + -ize
Related forms
lionization, noun
lionizer, noun
unlionized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lionize
Contemporary Examples
  • Conservatives may lionize Edward Snowden now, says Michael Tomasky, but ultimately his actions are going to tear apart the GOP.

Historical Examples
  • I should like particularly to have you to lionize us there; and I don't fancy your running into danger.'

    The Heir of Redclyffe Charlotte M. Yonge
  • The worst of Gordon was that he made it next to impossible for one to lionize him.

    Van Bibber and Others Richard Harding Davis
  • They're going to lionize him while he's here, so we'd better move him on.

    Rung Ho! Talbot Mundy
  • The free-handed miners of that town wanted nothing better than somebody or something to lionize.

    The Ifs of History

    Joseph Edgar Chamberlin
  • I want you to lionize an old friend of mine, who has the ambition to 'do' Connemara under your guidance.

  • I believe they'd lionize Charley Chaplin if he'd let them, but I understand he's more exclusive than we are.

    Black Oxen

    Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
  • lionized to death, as the English alone can lionize, Mr. Prescott never lost his modest self-possession.

    The Art of Entertaining

    M. E. W. Sherwood
  • The people at Sea-Acres felt the attraction and tried to lionize the dark, tall parson with the glowing, indifferent eyes.

    August First

    Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews and Roy Irving Murray
  • In spite of serious discrepancies in his attire, however, I saw that Mrs. Effie meant to lionize him tremendously.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for lionize


(transitive) to treat as or make into a celebrity
Derived Forms
lionization, lionisation, noun
lionizer, lioniser, 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 lionize

"to treat (someone) as a celebrity," a hybrid from lion + -ize. Used by Scott, 1809, and preserving lion in the sense of "person of note who is much sought-after" (1715), originally in reference to the lions formerly kept in the Tower of London (referred to from late 16c.), objects of general curiosity that every visitor in town was taken to see. Related: Lionized; lionizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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