adjective, live·li·er, live·li·est.


with briskness, vigor, or animation; briskly: to step lively.

Origin of lively

before 1000; Middle English; Old English līflīc vital. See life, -ly
Related formslive·li·ly, adverblive·li·ness, nouno·ver·live·li·ness, nouno·ver·live·ly, adjectiveun·live·li·ness, nounun·live·ly, adjective, adverb

Synonyms for lively

Antonyms for lively

1. inactive, torpid. 2. dull. 5. weak. 7. dim. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lively

Contemporary Examples of lively

Historical Examples of lively

  • At last this lively maiden got Philip away from the rest, and began to cross-question him.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Among his friends his speech was anticipated with lively interest.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • The lively wretch has made me a visit, and is but just gone away.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Then, as the stenographer entered, he went on with lively interest.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The wizened little headman was as cheerful and lively and vigorous as ever.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for lively


adjective -lier or -liest

full of life or vigour
vivacious or animated, esp when in company
busy; eventful
characterized by mental or emotional intensity; vivid
having a striking effect on the mind or senses
refreshinga lively breeze
springy or bouncy or encouraging springinessa lively ball
(of a boat or ship) readily responsive to the helm

adverb Also: 'livelily

in a brisk mannerstep lively
look lively (interjection) make haste
Derived Formsliveliness, 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 lively

Old English liflic "living, existing," literally "life-like;" from life + -ly (2). Sense of "active, energetic" developed by early 13c., from notion "full of life."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper