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[lahy-vuh n] /ˈlaɪ vən/
verb (used with object)
to put life into; rouse; enliven; cheer (often followed by up):
What can we do to liven up the party?
verb (used without object)
to become more lively; brighten (usually followed by up):
If this party doesn't liven up soon, let's leave.
Origin of liven
First recorded in 1880-85; aphetic variant of enliven
Related forms
livener, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for liven
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Especially when our country neighbors come in to ''liven us up.'

    Questionable Shapes William Dean Howells
  • If she doesn't we must give her a solid shot or two to liven her up—eh, Mr. Carter?

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • Casual anecdotes were sprinkled through his explanations to liven them.

    The Highgrader William MacLeod Raine
  • But what are you stopping the air for when it's rushing in to liven us up?

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • "Say when you want me to liven 'em up, Gertie," remarked Bulpert.

    Love at Paddington

    W. Pett Ridge
British Dictionary definitions for liven


(usually foll by up) to make or become lively; enliven
Derived Forms
livener, 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 liven

1884, colloquial shortening of 17c. enliven, usually with up. Related: Livened; livening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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