[liv-lawng, -long]


(of time) whole or entire, especially when tediously long, slow in passing, etc.: We picked apples the livelong day.

Origin of livelong

1350–1400; alteration (by association with live1) of earlier leeve long, Middle English leve longe dear long. See lief, long1
Can be confusedlifelong livelong Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for livelong

Historical Examples of livelong

  • I wonder what you do the livelong day, for I know you and idleness are not acquaintances.

    Hortus Inclusus

    John Ruskin

  • No one had bought any of them the livelong day—no one had given her a single penny.

    Favorite Fairy Tales

    Logan Marshall

  • All the livelong night there is jubilee among the Indians above and below.

    Marion's Faith.

    Charles King

  • A cruel doubt had been knocking at her door the livelong day.

    The Faith Doctor

    Edward Eggleston

  • In vain she waited the livelong night; no Dermot came back to her.

    The Heir of Kilfinnan

    W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for livelong


adjective mainly poetic

(of time) long or seemingly long, esp in a tedious way (esp in the phrase all the livelong day)
whole; entire


British another name for orpine
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 livelong

also live-long, c.1400, lefe longe (day), from leve, lief "dear" (see lief), used here as an emotional intensive + long (adj). From late 16c. conformed in spelling to live (v.) as lief grew strange. German has cognate die liebe lange Nacht, literally "the dear long night."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper