Definition of enliven in English:



  • 1Make (something) more entertaining, interesting, or appealing.

    ‘the wartime routine was enlivened by a series of concerts’
    • ‘Rather, it should enhance and enliven the occasion.’
    • ‘And as a prolific writer armed with wit, his articles enlivened the pages of the magazines.’
    • ‘It adds: ‘Well-designed restaurants and bars will also be encouraged adjacent to the public open spaces to create lively frontages and enliven the areas.’’
    • ‘They may enliven parliament to the point of making it interesting.’
    • ‘The changes only serve to enhance and enliven the original building.’
    • ‘The eye was immediately drawn to these buildings and significant lengths of the streets were enlivened by their presence.’
    • ‘They also express the weight and mass of the station's structure, which is animated and enlivened through the presence of natural light.’
    • ‘He came from a family of circus performers and enlivened meetings in which he participated.’
    • ‘Aided by digital graphics and other powerful tools, animation can enliven anything, from a movie to a music video.’
    • ‘Quotations from articles in and letters to women's magazines enhanced and enlivened the chapter on professional working women.’
    • ‘Set in a Fife factory and drawn from personal experiences, the bleak subject is enlivened with humour and wit.’
    • ‘Laughter can enliven even monotonous proceedings on the set, " she adds.’
    • ‘He is interesting when identifying personalities and providing biographical material to enliven the narrative.’
    • ‘Long escapes the scholar's temptation to be dryly academic, enlivening her book with unexpected and entertaining love stories.’
    • ‘Hopefully, this will enliven the journal and make it more interesting in the eyes of a broad military readership.’
    • ‘Entertainment workers enlivened the rally with their acts.’
    • ‘Throughout the book, the writing is enlivened with bright flashes of wit and Kent's consistently elegant use of language.’
    • ‘Heated discussions, sometimes carried on in several languages, enlivened the proceedings.’
    • ‘Proposing this debate at your next management away day should enliven proceedings.’
    • ‘The mid-afternoon sun shone down from a sky only occasionally enlivened by the odd fluffy cloud.’
    brighten up, make more interesting, make more exciting, liven up, put some spirit into, add colour to, wake up, give a boost to, give a lift to, ginger up
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Make (someone) more cheerful or animated.
      ‘the visit had clearly enlivened my mother’
      • ‘The music of Laurie Lewis will surprise you, enliven you, and cause you to reflect - just like bird songs themselves.’
      • ‘Barrie succeeded in getting his mother's attention and thus encouraged he made every effort possible to enliven her and to make her forget David.’
      • ‘She seemed to be enlivened by the condition outside, exhilarated by the motion of flying through it.’
      • ‘What enlivens us and mobilizes the will to live in each of us is profoundly unique.’
      • ‘When I feel rejuvenated, I feel enlivened, energized, connected with the world around me, and all of those qualities are ones that we notice in children.’
      • ‘Their words, she says, not only enliven her but also help jog her memory about speeches she's given during the past 15 years.’
      • ‘It seems that poetry ought to enliven us.’
      • ‘It is the prayer which enlivens and freshens up a person when hardships bog him down.’
      cheer up, brighten up, liven up, raise someone's spirits, uplift, gladden, ginger up, buoy up, make lively, wake up, waken up
      View synonyms


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘restore to life, give life to’; formerly also as inliven): from 16th-century enlive, inlive (in the same sense), from en-, in- (as an intensifier) + life.