Share this entry

lively Line breaks: live¦ly
Pronunciation: /ˈlʌɪvli/

Definition of lively in English:

adjective (livelier, liveliest)

1Full of life and energy; active and outgoing: a lively and uninhibited girl
More example sentences
  • He was so lively and full of energy that it dawned on us that he must have been in some sort of pain for a lot longer than we had thought.
  • Although a lively and outgoing teenager, he lives with the effects of what his father, Greg, termed ‘subtle neurological damage’.
  • Nine-year-old Ricky is described as a lively, active boy who loves reading, swimming, watching TV and playing computer games.
energetic, active, animated, vigorous, dynamic, full of life, outgoing, spirited, high-spirited, vivacious, enthusiastic, vibrant, buoyant, exuberant, effervescent, cheerful;
bouncy, bubbly, perky, sparkling, sprightly, spry, youthful, zesty, zestful, frisky, skittish;
informal bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of beans, chirpy, go-go, chipper, peppy, zippy, zappy, full of vim and vigour
North American informal peart
1.1(Of a place or atmosphere) full of activity and excitement: Barcelona’s many lively bars
More example sentences
  • When the fast is broken, there are festive activities in a lively atmosphere.
  • The karaoke bar maintained a lively atmosphere, even at such a late hour.
  • The town was a lively place, buzzing with activity.
vibrant, boisterous, jolly, festive
informal hopping, jumping, buzzy
British informal like Piccadilly Circus
1.2Intellectually stimulating or perceptive: a lively discussion her lively mind
More example sentences
  • A bonus is the Reading Group Companion Section at the end of the novel, featuring 10 questions sure to stimulate a lively discussion of the book.
  • Thank you both very much for a spirited, lively, intelligent discussion.
  • However, it would be a foolish man who tried to dictate to three such lively and intelligent minds.
heated, vigorous, stimulating, animated, spirited, enthusiastic, forceful;
exciting, stirring, interesting, eventful, memorable
1.3 ironic , chiefly British Difficult or challenging: a lively homeward passage dodging aircraft and E-boats
More example sentences
  • The Young Consumers of the Year competition is a lively challenge for young people aged between 14 and 17.
  • But I hope for us it is not more lively and difficult than today, eh?
awkward, tricky, difficult, challenging;
eventful, exciting, busy
informal hairy
1.4(Of a boat) rising lightly to the waves.
Example sentences
  • But cleaning fish on a lively boat that is heading for home at best speed can be fraught with danger if proper precautions are not taken.
  • KSA owns several types of dinghy, from lively Laser Picos to family boats such as Wayfarers, which members can hire for a very reasonable £5 for two hours.


Old English līflic 'living, animate' (see life, -ly1).


look lively

see look.





Pronunciation: /ˈlʌɪvlɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • However, the performance quickly picks up great pace with a consistent liveliness and vitality, which is largely the result of some brilliant individual performances.
  • We were much taken with the city, strolling around, enjoying the liveliness and the energy of the place.
  • Her animation and liveliness engaged her young students, as evidenced by the children's laughter and high degree of participation.

Words that rhyme with lively

fortnightly • housewifely

Definition of lively in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day exemplum
Pronunciation: ɪɡˈzɛmpləm
an example or model...