[liv-uh-ree, liv-ree]
noun, plural liv·er·ies.
  1. a distinctive uniform, badge, or device formerly provided by someone of rank or title for his retainers, as in time of war.
  2. a uniform worn by servants.
  3. distinctive attire worn by an official, a member of a company or guild, etc.
  4. Also called livery company. British. a guild or company of the City of London entitled to wear such livery.
  5. characteristic dress, garb, or outward appearance: the green livery of summer.
  6. the care, feeding, stabling, etc., of horses for pay.
  7. livery stable.
  8. a company that rents out automobiles, boats, etc.
  9. Law. an ancient method of conveying a freehold by formal delivery of possession.

Origin of livery

1250–1300; Middle English livere < Anglo-French, equivalent to Old French livree allowance (of food, clothing, etc.), noun use of feminine past participle of livrer to give over < Latin līberāre; see liberate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for livery company

livery company

  1. British one of the chartered companies of the City of London originating from the craft guilds


noun plural -eries
  1. the identifying uniform, badge, etc, of a member of a guild or one of the servants of a feudal lord
  2. a uniform worn by some menservants and chauffeurs
  3. an individual or group that wears such a uniform
  4. distinctive dress or outward appearance
    1. the stabling, keeping, or hiring out of horses for money
    2. (as modifier)a livery horse
  5. at livery being kept in a livery stable
  6. legal history an ancient method of conveying freehold land

Word Origin for livery

C14: via Anglo-French from Old French livrée allocation, from livrer to hand over, from Latin līberāre to set free


  1. of or resembling liver
  2. another word for liverish
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 livery company



c.1300, "household allowance of any kind (food, provisions, clothing) to retainers or servants," from Anglo-French livere (late 13c.), Old French livrée, "allowance, ration, pay," originally "(clothes) delivered by a master to his retinue," from fem. past participle of livrer "to dispense, deliver, hand over," from Latin liberare (see liberate). The sense later was reduced to "servants' rations" and "provender for horses" (mid-15c.). The former led to the meaning "distinctive clothing given to servants" (early 14c.); the latter now is obsolete except in livery stable (1705). Related: Liveried.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper