Idioms

    like anything, Informal. very much; extremely; with great intensity: He wanted like anything to win.
    like to, South Midland and Southern U.S. was on the verge of or came close to (doing something): The poor kid like to froze.Also liked to.
    something like, Informal. something approaching or approximating: It looked something like this.
    the like/likes of, someone or something similar to; the equal of: I've never seen the like of it anywhere.

Origin of like

1
1150–1200; Middle English lic, lik < Old Norse līkr; replacing Old English gelīc, cognate with Dutch gelijk, German gleich, Old Norse glīkr, Gothic galeiks like, literally, of the same body or form. See y-, lich
Related formslik·er, noun

Usage note

Like1 as a conjunction meaning “as, in the same way as” ( Many shoppers study the food ads like brokers study market reports ) or “as if” ( It looks like it will rain ) has been used for nearly 500 years and by many distinguished literary and intellectual figures. Since the mid-19th century there have been objections, often vehement, to these uses. Nevertheless, such uses are almost universal today in all but the most formal speech and writing. In extremely careful speech and in much formal writing, as, as if, and as though are more commonly used than like : The commanding general accepted full responsibility for the incident, as any professional soldier would. Many of the Greenwich Village bohemians lived as if (or as though ) there were no tomorrow.
The strong strictures against the use of like as a conjunction have resulted in the occasional hypercorrect use of as as a preposition where like is idiomatic: She looks as a sympathetic person.
Like meaning “as if” is also standard in informal speech and writing with a small number of adjectives: The crew worked like crazy (or like mad ) to finish the job on time. See also as.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for the likes of

like

1

adjective

(prenominal) similar; resembling

preposition

similar to; similarly to; in the manner ofacting like a maniac; he's so like his father
used correlatively to express similarity in certain proverbslike mother, like daughter
such asthere are lots of ways you might amuse yourself — like taking a long walk, for instance

adverb

a dialect word for likely
not standard as it were: often used as a parenthetic fillerthere was this policeman just staring at us, like
be like … informal used to introduce direct speech or nonverbal communicationI was like, ‘You're kidding!’

conjunction

not standard as though; as ifyou look like you've just seen a ghost
in the same way as; in the same way thatshe doesn't dance like you do

noun

the equal or counterpart of a person or thing, esp one respected or prizedcompare like with like; her like will never be seen again
the like similar thingsdogs, foxes, and the like
the likes of or the like of people or things similar to (someone or something specified)we don't want the likes of you around here

Word Origin for like

shortened from Old English gelīc; compare Old Norse glīkr and līkr like

usage

The use of like to mean such as was formerly thought to be undesirable in formal writing, but has now become acceptable. It was also thought that as rather than like should be used to mean in the same way that, but now both as and like are acceptable: they hunt and catch fish as/like their ancestors used to. The use of look like and seem like before a clause, although very common, is thought by many people to be incorrect or non-standard: it looks as though he won't come (not it looks like he won't come)

like

2

verb

(tr) to find (something) enjoyable or agreeable or find it enjoyable or agreeable (to do something)he likes boxing; he likes to hear music
(tr) to be fond of
(tr) to prefer or wish (to do something)we would like you to go
(tr) to feel towards; consider; regardhow did she like it?
(intr) to feel disposed or inclined; choose; wish
(tr) archaic to please; agree withit likes me not to go

noun

(usually plural) a favourable feeling, desire, preference, etc (esp in the phrase likes and dislikes)

Word Origin for like

Old English līcian; related to Old Norse līka, Dutch lijken
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 the likes of

like

n.

c.1200, "a similar thing" (to another), from like (adj.).

like

adj.

"having the same characteristics or qualities" (as another), Middle English shortening of Old English gelic "like, similar," from Proto-Germanic *galika- "having the same form," literally "with a corresponding body" (cf. Old Saxon gilik, Dutch gelijk, German gleich, Gothic galeiks "equally, like"), a compound of *ga- "with, together" + Germanic base *lik- "body, form; like, same" (cf. Old English lic "body," German Leiche "corpse," Danish lig, Swedish lik, Dutch lijk "body, corpse"). Analogous, etymologically, to Latin conform. The modern form (rather than *lich) may be from a northern descendant of the Old English word's Norse cognate, glikr.

Formerly with comparative liker and superlative likest (still in use 17c.). The preposition (c.1200) and the adverb (c.1300) both are from the adjective. As a conjunction, first attested early 16c. The word has been used as a postponed filler ("going really fast, like") from 1778; as a presumed emphatic ("going, like, really fast") from 1950, originally in counterculture slang and bop talk. Phrase more like it "closer to what is desired" is from 1888.

like

v.

Old English lician "to please, be sufficient," from Proto-Germanic *likjan (cf. Old Norse lika, Old Frisian likia, Old High German lihhen, Gothic leikan "to please"), from *lik- "body, form; like, same."

The basic meaning seems to be "to be like" (see like (adj.)), thus, "to be suitable." Like (and dislike) originally flowed the other way: It likes me, where we would say I like it. The modern flow began to appear late 14c. (cf. please).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with the likes of

the likes of

see likes of.

like

In addition to the idioms beginning with like

  • like a bat out of hell
  • like a bump on a log
  • like a cat on hot bricks
  • like a champ
  • like a chicken with its head cut off
  • like a drowned rat
  • like a fish out of water
  • like a house afire
  • like a lamb to the slaughter
  • like anything
  • like a shot
  • like as not
  • like as two peas in a pod
  • like a ton of bricks
  • like clockwork
  • like crazy
  • like death warmed over
  • like father, like son
  • like fun
  • like gangbusters
  • like greased lightning
  • like hell
  • like hot cakes, go
  • like it or lump it
  • likely as not
  • like mad
  • like nobody's business
  • like nothing on earth
  • like pigs in clover
  • like pulling teeth
  • like rolling off a log
  • like shooting fish in a barrel
  • likes of, the
  • like something the cat dragged in
  • like that
  • like to
  • like water off a duck's back

also see:

  • and the like
  • avoid like the plague
  • come up (smelling like) roses
  • crazy like a fox
  • drink like a fish
  • drop like flies
  • Dutch uncle, talk to like a
  • eat like a bird
  • feel like
  • (like a) fish out of water
  • fit like a glove
  • fly on the wall, would like to be a
  • get on (like a house afire)
  • go out (like a light)
  • go over (like a lead balloon)
  • grin like a Cheshire cat
  • (drop like a) hot potato
  • just like that
  • know like a book
  • live like a king
  • look like a million dollars
  • look like death
  • look like something the cat dragged in
  • look like the cat that ate the canary
  • make out like a bandit
  • manna from heaven, like
  • mind like a steel trap
  • need like a hole in the head
  • no fool like an old fool
  • not anything like
  • no time like the present
  • out like a light
  • packed in like sardines
  • sleep like a log
  • something like
  • spread like wildfire
  • stick out (like a sore thumb)
  • swear like a trooper
  • take to (like a duck to water)
  • tell it like it is
  • treat like dirt
  • turn up like a bad penny
  • wail like a banshee
  • watch like a hawk
  • work like a beaver
  • work like a charm
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.