Definition of like in English:


Line breaks: like
Pronunciation: /lʌɪk


1Having the same characteristics or qualities as; similar to: he used to have a car like mine they were like brothers she looked nothing like Audrey Hepburn
More example sentences
  • I also noticed he had a corduroy suit in his bag just like mine.
  • He is like a brother to me and has got me through a lot and has always been there.
  • The firework went off right above the car, it was like a bomb, and it frightened the life out of Declan.
1.1In the manner of; in the same way or to the same degree as: he was screaming like a banshee
More example sentences
  • She seems to be the only one who manages to keep him from screaming like a baby.
  • If I ever see octopus again I will either collapse in a heap or scream like a maniac.
  • Paul was trampled on by the home team and screamed like a pig.
in the same way as, in the manner of, in the same manner as, in the same way that, in a similar way to, after the fashion of, along/on the lines of, as, tantamount to
1.2In a way appropriate to: students were angry at being treated like children
More example sentences
  • Even France's old colony of Algeria treated him like a returning hero on his recent visit.
  • We don't want to keep moving around all the time, but we have no choice and we are sick of being treated like animals.
  • She is married and loves her husband but he treats her like a child because he is much older than she is.
1.3Such as one might expect from; characteristic of: just like you to put a damper on people’s enjoyment
More example sentences
  • Where is my son? It's not like him to be late.
  • It's just like you to blame me for something I obviously didn't do!
  • It was so like James to use every opportunity possible to boost his own ego.
characteristic of, typical of, in character with
1.4Used in questions to ask about the characteristics or nature of someone or something: what is it like to be a tuna fisherman? what’s she like?
More example sentences
  • As I sit looking at their photos, I cannot imagine what it must be like for their family.
  • Those of you who wonder what it must be like to live with a writer, wonder no more.
  • I cannot imagine what it must be like to see your best friend die in front of you.
2Used to draw attention to the nature of an action or event: I apologize for coming over unannounced like this why are you talking about me like that?
More example sentences
  • Why do we continue to treat teachers like this, when they have the most important job?
  • It seems you have been through a lot with this person but that does not mean it gives him the right to treat you like this.
  • The bill is the only thing I expect to ask for in a classy restaurant like this!
3Such as; for example: the cautionary vision of works like Animal Farm and 1984
More example sentences
  • How did it help you and your work, working with an established artist like Henry Moore?
  • On Sunday the church services will focus on the work of agencies like World Vision.
  • Players, particularly young ones like those at City, need to feel confident to perform.


informal Back to top  
1In the same way that; as: people who change countries like they change clothes
More example sentences
  • I didn't like the idea of it, but the guy was just doing his job, like I was doing mine.
  • The French bounced back really well, like we expected them to as Six Nations champions.
  • When he came in from Saints last season he possibly expected people around him to think like he did.
2As though; as if: I felt like I’d been kicked by a camel
More example sentences
  • Well, it's not like anything exciting is happening today, is it?
  • It's like all the bad qualities that some adults have are being copied by many kids.
  • At times I had to slow down because the car made it feel like you were going slower than you actually were.


Back to top  
1Used with reference to a person or thing of the same kind as another: the quotations could be arranged to put like with like I know him—him and his like
More example sentences
  • You probably know the fundamental law of all magnets: opposites attract and likes repel.
  • The problem with league tables is they never compare like with like.
  • How many wars does it take before he and his like learn that there are no winners in war, only losers?
1.1 (the like) A thing or things of the same kind (often used to express surprise or for emphasis): did you ever hear the like? a church interior the like of which he had never seen before
More example sentences
  • This is not just a movie, it is a cinematic experience the likes of which I have never seen before.
  • You are playing a new breed of football, the likes of which the country has never seen.
  • Hong Kong developers haven't seen the likes of this rental market since 1997.


[attributive] Back to top  
1(Of a person or thing) having similar qualities or characteristics to another person or thing: I responded in like manner the grouping of children of like ability together
More example sentences
  • The ICC statute itself suggests that the new court will not treat like cases in a like manner.
  • The artist beamed and continued in like manner giving me enough copy for a small report.
  • There were a number of matters of a like nature which went before the Federal Court.
1.1 [predicative] (Of a portrait or other image) having a faithful resemblance to the original: ‘Who painted the dog’s picture? It’s very like.’
More example sentences
  • Who painted the dog's picture? It -- it's very like.


Back to top  
1 informal Used in speech as a meaningless filler or to signify the speaker’s uncertainty about an expression just used: there was this funny smell—sort of dusty like
More example sentences
  • I just - you know, I just kind of like mind my own business.
  • Ben Kweller and his band certainly did that alright - they like totally rocked, man.
  • And then she said I was right! I was like so amazed!
2 informal Used to convey a person’s reported attitude or feelings in the form of direct speech (whether or not representing an actual quotation): so she comes into the room and she’s like ‘Where is everybody?’
More example sentences
  • She's got her Nativity play coming up, and she's like, ’Mummy, I'm going to sing on the stage like you.’
  • I'm trying to work, and this guy is looking over my shoulder and after a while I notice and I'm like, ‘What are you doing?’
  • So I decided to go swimming with Peter, and we did for a little bit. Then he's like, ‘Do you want to see my car?’
3 (like as/to) archaic In the manner of: like as a ship with dreadful storm long tossed


Middle English: from Old Norse líkr; related to alike.


In the sentence he’s behaving like he owns the place, like is a conjunction meaning ‘as if’, a usage regarded as incorrect in standard English. Although like has been used as a conjunction in this way since the 15th century by many respected writers, it is still frowned upon and considered unacceptable in formal English, where as if should be used instead.


and the like

And similar things; et cetera: the preservation of endangered species in zoos, botanical gardens, and the like
More example sentences
  • I owe some of my initial successes to old friends at Oxford who put me in touch with publishers and the like.
  • I've spent the entire day sorting and washing baby clothes and the like.
  • The boot includes hooks for shopping bags and the like and the exterior is enhanced by alloy wheels.

like anything

British informal To a great degree: they would probably worry like anything
More example sentences
  • There's a green haze on the trees, and the snowdrops are blooming like anything.
  • On one side there is a tremendous financial crunch and on the other the ministers are spending money like anything.
  • We've got to fight like anything to recover the position that we had even in 1945.

(as) like as not

Probably: she would be in bed by now, like as not
More example sentences
  • That'll keep me busy tomorrow and, like as not, the day after that, too.
  • I shall suffer some indigestion tomorrow like as not, and serve me right.
  • Art supplies are available on the Internet, of course, and cheaper, like as not.

like enough (or most like)

archaic Probably: he’ll have lost a deal of blood, I dare say, and like enough he’s still losing it
More example sentences
  • The result of the enterprise would most like have a different outcome.

like ——, like ——

As —— is, so is ——: like father, like son
More example sentences
  • My research shows that it's pretty much a case of ‘like father, like son’ - kids learn how to deal with difficult situations from their parents.
  • I hadn't expected her daughter to be taught to follow in her footsteps. Then again, like mother like daughter, hmm?

like so

informal In this manner: the votive candles are arranged like so
More example sentences
  • First spread the cream, and then place the preserves on top like so.
  • Come here and turn around and put your arms up like so.

the likes of

informal Someone or something regarded as a type: she didn’t want to associate with the likes of me
More example sentences
  • This is where you are likely to find the likes of Mick Jagger, Elton John and other superstars.
  • The sound has been compared to the likes of Pavement, The Pixies and Talking Heads.
  • There was a certain romance in crime when we felt that the likes of Michael Corleone were behind it all.

more like

Nearer to (a specified number or description) than one previously given: he believes the figure should be more like £10 million
More example sentences
  • A couple of fights will build my confidence up and the training will be more like five times a week.
  • This would not be a case of losing valuable seconds to get to the fire but more like quite a few minutes.
  • If you look at total jobs lost, it's more like 1.1 or 1.2 million.
(more like it) Nearer to what is required or expected; more satisfactory: the sound of Mozart’s Horn Concerto filled the car and he relaxed—that was more like it
More example sentences
  • French apple tart with cinnamon, that's more like it.
  • Meanwhile, next door - this is more like it - The Proclaimers are about to get down to some heavy-duty havering.
  • ‘That was more like it,’ he said, after making birdies at each of his last two holes.

of (a) like mind

(Of a person) sharing the same opinions or tastes.
More example sentences
  • In most matters he and Black were of like mind, however.
  • We seem to be of like mind when it comes to football and football matters.
  • Both father and son share a passion for politics and strong beliefs in the importance of family values, although they have not always been of a like mind politically.

what is he (or she etc.) like?

British informal Used as an expression of light-hearted incredulity at behaviour regarded as foolish or eccentric: What are you like? I don’t believe you are doing this

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