verb (used with object), li·on·ized, li·on·iz·ing.

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), li·on·ized, li·on·iz·ing.

to pursue celebrities or seek their company.
British. to visit the objects of interest of a place.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lionize

Contemporary Examples of lionize

  • Conservatives may lionize Edward Snowden now, says Michael Tomasky, but ultimately his actions are going to tear apart the GOP.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Snowden and the Right

    Michael Tomasky

    June 10, 2013

Historical Examples of lionize

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for lionize




(tr) to treat as or make into a celebrity
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 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