1. a representation, picture, or image, especially a portrait: to draw a good likeness of Churchill.
  2. the state or fact of being like: I can't get over your likeness to my friend.
  3. the semblance or appearance of something; guise: to assume the likeness of a swan.

Origin of likeness

before 950; Middle English liknesse, Old English līcnes, variant of gelīcnes. See alike, -ness

Synonyms for likeness Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for likenesses

Contemporary Examples of likenesses

  • Today, his portraits are distinctly recognizable as Nadars as much as they register the likenesses of individual historic figures.

    The Daily Beast logo
    An '80s Art Flashback

    Philip Gefter

    October 29, 2009

Historical Examples of likenesses

  • He set in heaven the Stars of the Zodiac which are their likenesses.

  • I send you two likenesses, printed from copper, which you will know well.

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

  • We should answer: In what relates to the making of likenesses, and similarly of other things.

  • Our likenesses have been compared many times:—I am glad we have met.

    An Outcast

    F. Colburn Adams

  • If she be not the child of Madame Montford, then no faith can be put in likenesses.

    An Outcast

    F. Colburn Adams

British Dictionary definitions for likenesses


  1. the condition of being alike; similarity
  2. a painted, carved, moulded, or graphic image of a person or thing
  3. an imitative appearance; semblance
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

Word Origin and History for likenesses



Old English (Northumbrian) licnes "likeness, similarity; figure, statue, image," shortened from gelicness; see like (adj.) + -ness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper