Definition of liken in US English:



[with object]liken someone/something to
  • Point out the resemblance of someone or something to.

    ‘they likened the reigning emperor to a god’
    • ‘The self-motivated man - who booked the entire tour himself - likens his musical style to a combination of pop and indie rock.’
    • ‘In a blizzard of eulogies, Henderson was likened to - among others - Socrates and Burns.’
    • ‘The doctrine likens a woman to an evil that tempts Adam to eat the apple in the Garden of Eden, which God has forbidden them even to touch.’
    • ‘He likens the story to a fairy-tale, illuminating the biggest questions in life.’
    • ‘Mann likens this process to the method acting style of movie stars such as Robert de Niro, who go to great lengths to get into character.’
    • ‘McQueenie, who competed in last year's Celtic Water Sports Festival, likens the surfing experience to being chased by an avalanche; the challenge is to get round the mountain bearing down on you.’
    • ‘NHS dental care in Yorkshire has been likened to that in a Third World country.’
    • ‘She likens her pieces to miniature abstract paintings - each one is an individual.’
    • ‘Doctor Sachs likens his surgery to an artist conducting a symphony and has appeared on TV.’
    • ‘He likens his ambition to that of Tanzanian President Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who retired from politics in the 1980s in order to devote himself entirely to the translation of Shakespeare into Swahili.’
    • ‘He likens the difference to that between cassettes and CDs.’
    • ‘An old saying in China likens children to birds.’
    • ‘Kerr tells his audiences that the explosion blew him about 30 yards from where he was standing, and likens the impact to being hit by a truck.’
    • ‘He likens Albena to resorts in other European countries such as Spain and describes it as ‘totally impersonal’, but notes the importance of such resorts in terms of bringing money into the country.’
    • ‘Development economist Bill Easterly likens this refrain to Moore's Law, which predicts computing power will double every 18 months.’
    • ‘The comparison might be very useful for likening a certain government to a Hitlerian menace.’
    • ‘The new NASA administrator, Michael Griffin, made a revealing comparison, likening the space shuttle to a clipper ship - i.e., a once brilliant but now completely outmoded technology.’
    • ‘He likens his ideal trajectory to Sir Simon Rattle's achievements at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra over 18 years at the end of the last century.’
    • ‘He likened the fight to the struggle against apartheid and forging links with progressive countries and organisations to finally eradicate apartheid.’
    • ‘The metaphor that likens the brain to a computer is misleading and in another discussion somewhere, sometime, I will tell you why that is.’
    compare, equate, show the resemblance between, show the similarity between, analogize, draw an analogy between, make an analogy between, make an analogy of, draw a parallel between, parallel, correlate, match
    View synonyms


Middle English: from like + -en.