[lahy-kuh n]

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 formsun·lik·ened, adjective
Can be confusedlichen liken Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for likening

Contemporary Examples of likening

Historical Examples of likening

  • 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.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for likening



(tr) to see or represent as the same or similar; compare

Word Origin for liken

C14: from like 1 (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

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