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See more synonyms for lionize on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), li·on·ized, li·on·iz·ing.
  1. to treat (a person) as a celebrity: to lionize the visiting poet.
  2. British. to visit or exhibit the objects of interest of (a place).
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verb (used without object), li·on·ized, li·on·iz·ing.
  1. to pursue celebrities or seek their company.
  2. British. to visit the objects of interest of a place.
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Also especially British, li·on·ise.

Origin of lionize

First recorded in 1800–10; lion + -ize
Related formsli·on·i·za·tion, nounli·on·iz·er, nounun·li·on·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lionization

Historical Examples

  • Then came the news of Speke's return and lionization in London.

    The Life of Sir Richard Burton

    Thomas Wright

  • The renowned Tupper is undergoing the process of lionization.

  • A Bayard in society—a Raphael at the easel, he bore a distinguished part in the lionization of the day.


    Marion Harland

  • Paris made a great fuss over him, but he took his lionization very calmly.

    The Sunny Side of Diplomatic Life, 1875-1912

    Lillie DeHegermann-Lindencrone

British Dictionary definitions for lionization



  1. (tr) to treat as or make into a celebrity
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Derived Formslionization or lionisation, nounlionizer or 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

Word Origin and History for lionization



"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper