verbliked, lik·ing, likes
- To find pleasant or attractive; enjoy: Do you like ice cream? I like your style.
a. To want to have: I would like some coffee.
b. To prefer: How would you like your coffee—with sugar or without?
- To feel about; regard: How do you like these new theater seats?
- To believe or predict that (a certain competitor) will win a contest: Which team do you like in tonight's game?
- To perform well under (a given condition) or using (a given feature): This car does not like cold weather. The engine does not like enriched fuel.
- Archaic To be pleasing to.
- To have an inclination or a preference: If you like, we can meet you there.
- Scots To be pleased.
Something that is liked; a preference: made a list of his likes and dislikes.
Origin of like
Middle English liken from
Old English līcian to please
; see līk-
in Indo-European roots.
- Possessing the characteristics of; resembling closely; similar to: Your house is like mine.
a. In the typical manner of: It's not like you to take offense.
b. In the same way as: lived like royalty.
- Inclined or disposed to: felt like running away.
- As if the probability exists for: looks like a bad year for farmers.
- Such as; for example: saved things like old newspapers and pieces of string.
Possessing the same or almost the same characteristics; similar: on this and like occasions.
- In the manner of being; as if. Used as an intensifier of action: worked like hell; ran like crazy.
- Informal Probably; likely: Like as not she'll change her mind.
- Nearly; approximately: The price is more like 1,000 dollars.
- Nonstandard Used to provide emphasis or to focus attention on something: Let's like talk about this for a minute. It's like so crowded you can't move.
- One similar to or like another. Used with the : was subject to coughs, asthma, and the like.
- often likes Informal An equivalent or similar person or thing; an equal or match: I've never seen the likes of this before. We'll never see his like again.
conjunction Usage Problem
- In the same way that; as: To dance like she does requires great discipline.
- As if: It looks like we'll finish on time.
Origin of like
Middle English from like similar
Old English gelīc
) (Old Norse līkr
) and from like similarly
Old English gelīce
) ( from gelīc similar
); see līk-
in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: They don't make them like they used to. I remember it like it was yesterday. As these familiar examples show, like is often used as a conjunction meaning “as” or “as if,” particularly in speech. While writers since Chaucer's time have used like as a conjunction, the usage today has a somewhat informal or conversational flavor. Language critics and writing handbooks have condemned the conjunctive use of like for more than a century, and in accordance with this tradition, like is usually edited out of more formal prose. This is easy enough to do, since as and as if stand as synonyms: Sales of new models rose as (not like ) we expected them to. He ran as if (not like ) his life depended on it. • Like is acceptable at all levels as a conjunction when used with verbs such as feel, look, seem, sound, and taste: It looks like we are in for a rough winter. Constructions in which the verb is not expressed, such as He took to politics like a duck to water, are also acceptable, especially since in these cases like can be viewed as a preposition. See Usage Note at as 1. See Usage Note at together. Our Living Language
Along with be all
the construction combining be
has become a common way of introducing quotations in informal conversation, especially among younger people: “So I'm like, 'Let's get out of here!'”
As with go,
this use of like
can also announce a brief imitation of another person's behavior, often elaborated with facial expressions and gestures. It can also summarize a past attitude or reaction (instead of presenting direct speech). If a woman says “I'm like, 'Get lost buddy!'”
she may or may not have used those actual words to tell the offending man off. In fact, she may not have said anything to him but instead may be summarizing her attitude at the time by stating what she might have said, had she chosen to speak. go 1
aux.v. Chiefly Southern US
Used with a past infinitive or with to and a simple past form to indicate being just on the point of or coming near to having done something in the past: “I like to a split a gut laughin'.” “It seemed as how nobody had thought about measurin' the width of the bridge's openin', and we like to didn't make it through” ( Dictionary of American Regional English )
Origin of like
Middle English liken to compare from like similar
; see like 2
. Our Living Language
In certain Southern varieties of American English there are two grammatically distinct usages of the word like
to mean “was on the verge of.” In both, either like
is possible. In the first, the word is followed by a past infinitive: We like
) to have drowned.
The ancestor of this construction was probably the adjective like
in the sense “likely, on the verge of,” as in She's like to get married again.
The adjective was reinterpreted by some speakers as a verb, and since like to
and liked to
are indistinguishable in normal speech, the past tense came to be marked on the following infinitive for clarity. From this developed a second way of expressing the same concept: the use of like to
with a following finite
past tense verb form, as in I like to died when I saw that.
This construction appears odd at first because it ostensibly contains an ungrammatical infinitive, to died,
but that is not the case at all. What has happened is that like to
here has been reinterpreted as an adverb meaning almost.
In fact, it is quite common to see the phrase spelled as a single word, in the pronunciation spelling liketa.
Resembling or characteristic of: ladylike.
Origin of -like
Middle English from like similar
; see like 2
(third-person singular simple present likes, present participle liking, simple past and past participle liked)
- (archaic) To please.
- To enjoy, be pleased by; favor; be in favor of.
- I like hamburgers; I like skiing in winter; I like the Seattle Mariners this season
- 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, The Celebrity:
- He used to drop into my chambers once in a while to smoke, and was first-rate company. When I gave a dinner there was generally a cover laid for him. I liked the man for his own sake, and even had he promised to turn out a celebrity it would have had no weight with me.
- To prefer and maintain (an action) as a regular habit or activity.
- I like to go to the dentist every six months; She likes to keep herself physically fit; we like to keep one around the office just in case
- (archaic) To come near; to avoid with difficulty; to escape narrowly.
- He liked to have been too late.
- To find attractive; to prefer the company of; to have mild romantic feelings for.
- I really like Sandra but don't know how to tell her.
- (Internet) To show support for, or approval of, something posted on the Internet by marking it with a vote.
- I liked my friend's last status on Facebook.
- I can't stand Bloggs' tomato ketchup, but I liked it on Facebook so I could enter a competition.
- In its senses of “enjoy" and “maintain as a regular habit", like is a catenative verb; in the former, it usually takes a gerund (-ing form), while in the latter, it takes a to-infinitive. See also .
- Like is only used to mean “want" in certain expressions, such as “if you like" and “I would like". The conditional form, would like, is used quite freely as a polite synonym for want.
- (usually plural) Something that a person likes (prefers).
- Tell me your likes and dislikes.
- (Internet) The act of showing support for, or approval of, something posted on the Internet by marking it with a vote.
From Middle English liken, from Old English lÄ«cian (“to please, be sufficient"), from Proto-Germanic *lÄ«kÅnÄ…, *lÄ«kÄnÄ… (“to please"), from Proto-Indo-European *lÄ«g- (“image, likeness, similarity"). Cognate with Dutch lijken (“to seem"), German gleichen (“to resemble"), Icelandic lÃka (“to like"), Norwegian like (“to like"), Albanian ngjaj (“I resemble, I'm alike") from archaic nglÃ¢j.
(comparative more like or liker, superlative most like or likest)
- My partner and I have like minds.
- Many were not easy to be governed, nor like to conform themselves to strict rules.
(comparative more like, superlative most like)
- (informal) For example, such as: to introduce an example or list of examples.
- There are lots of birds, like ducks and gulls, in this park.
- (archaic, colloquial) Likely.
In formal writing, such as is preferred over like.
- (sometimes as the likes of) Someone similar to a given person, or something similar to a given object; a comparative; a type; a sort.
- There were bowls full of sweets, chocolates and the like.
- It was something the likes of which I had never seen before.
- as if; as though
- It looks like you've finished the project.
- It seemed like you didn't care.
- Somewhat similar to, reminiscent of.
- These hamburgers taste like leather.
The use as a quotative is deliberately informal and commonly used by young people, and often combined with the use of the present tense as a narrative. Similar terms are to go and all, as in I go, “Why did you do that?" and he goes, “I don't know" and I was all, “Why did you do that?" and he was all, “I don't know." These expressions can imply that the attributed remark which follows is representative rather than necessarily an exact quotation; however, in speech these structures do tend to require mimicking the original speakers inflection in a way said would not.
- (Liverpudlian, Geordie) Used to place emphasis upon a statement.
- divint ye knaa, like?
From Middle English, from Old English Ä¡elÄ«Ä‹ by shortening, influenced by Old Norse lÃkr. Cognate with alike; more distantly, with lich and -ly.