Meaning of LIKE in English


I. like 1 S1 W1 /laɪk/ BrE AmE preposition

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ like 6 ]

1 . SIMILAR similar to something else, or happening in the same way:

Her hair is dark brown like mine.

A club should be like a big family.

He eats like a pig!

look/sound/feel/taste/seem like

The garden looked like a jungle.

At last he felt like a real soldier.

My experience is very much like that described in the book.

He’s very like his brother.

Sometimes you sound just like (=exactly like) my mum!

He’s growing more like his father every day.

He looked nothing like (=not at all like) the man in the police photograph.

2 . what is somebody/something like? spoken used when asking someone to describe or give their opinion of a person or thing:

What’s their house like inside?

What are Dan’s parents like?

3 . EXAMPLE for example:

Things like glass, paper, and plastic can all be recycled.

Try to avoid fatty foods like cakes and biscuits.


In written English, people usually use for example , for instance , or such as rather than like :

packaging materials, for instance paper, glass, and plastic

Try to avoid fatty foods such as cakes and biscuits.

4 . TYPICAL typical of a particular person

be like somebody to do something

It’s not like Steven to be late.

It’s just like her to run away from her responsibilities!

5 . like this/that/so spoken used when you are showing someone how to do something:

You have to fold the corners back, like so.

6 . just like that informal if you do something just like that, you do it without thinking about it or planning it carefully:

You can’t give up your job just like that!

7 . something like not much more or less than a particular amount SYN about :

The machinery alone will cost something like thirty thousand pounds.

He’s scored something like 60 goals this season.

8 . nothing like British English not at all:

Twenty years ago travel was nothing like as easy as it is now.

This will be nothing like enough money.

9 . there’s nothing like used to say that a particular thing is very enjoyable:

There’s nothing like a nice cup of tea!

10 . more like used when giving an amount or number that you think is closer to being right than one that has been mentioned:

The builders say they’ll be finished in three months, but I think it’ll be more like six.

11 . that’s more like it/this is more like it spoken used to say that something is better, more correct, or more enjoyable than something else:

That gives us a total of 52 – that’s more like it.

She sat down by the pool and took a sip of her wine. ‘This is more like it,’ she said.

12 . more like it British English spoken used when you want to change something that has been said, to make it more true:

‘Poor David,’ she said. ‘Poor Harriet, more like it!’

13 . what are you like! British English spoken informal used in a joking, friendly way, when you are surprised by what someone has just said or done:

‘I think she’s a lovely lady.’ ‘What are you like!’

II. like 2 S1 W1 BrE AmE verb [transitive not usually in progressive]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ like ≠ ↑ dislike , ↑ liking ; verb : ↑ like ≠ ↑ dislike ; adjective : ↑ likeable ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: lician ]

1 . THINK SOMETHING IS NICE to enjoy something or think that it is nice or good ⇨ love OPP dislike :

I like your jacket.

I don’t really like classical music.

Do you like this colour?

I like my coffee quite weak.

I don’t like it when you get angry.

How do you like living in London (=how much do you like it) ?

like doing something

I don’t like talking in public.

like to do something

I like to see people enjoying themselves.

I quite like their new album.

We really liked the film.

The time I like best (=like most of all) is the evening when it’s cool.

like something about somebody/something

One of the things I like about John is his sense of humour.

I didn’t like the idea of being a single parent.

2 . LIKE A PERSON to think that someone is nice or enjoy being with them:

Jessica’s really nice, but I don’t like her boyfriend.

You’ll like my brother.

I really like Sam.

She’s a lovely girl and I like her very much.

In time, I got to like her (=began to like her) .

3 . APPROVE OF SOMETHING to approve of something and think that it is good or right:

I don’t like dishonesty.

I don’t like the way he shouts at the children.

like doing something

He’s never liked talking about people behind their backs.

like somebody doing something

I don’t like him taking all the credit when he didn’t do any of the work.

like to do something

She doesn’t like to swear in front of the children.

4 . DO SOMETHING REGULARLY to try to do something regularly or make something happen regularly

like to do something

I like to get up early and get a bit of work done before breakfast.

like somebody to do something

We like our students to take part in college sports activities.

5 . WANT would like

a) used to say that you want something or want to do something ⇨ love :

I’d like a cheeseburger, please.

would like to do something

I’d like to see that film.

There’s something I’d like to tell you.

I’d like to apologize for my behaviour yesterday.

I’d just like to say how grateful we are for your help.

would like somebody to do something

He would like us all to be at the meeting.

b) used to ask someone if they want something or want to do something:

Would you like a drink?

What would you like to eat?

Contact our office if you would like more information.

would somebody like to do something

Would you like to come with us?

How would you like (=would you like) to spend the summer in Italy?

would somebody like somebody to do something

Would you like me to pick you up in the morning?

6 . whatever/wherever/anything etc you like whatever thing you want, in whatever place you want etc:

You can sit wherever you like.

You can choose anything you like from the menu.

7 . as long as you like/as much as you like etc as long, as much etc as you want:

You know you’re welcome to stay with us as long as you like.

Take as many as you like.

8 . (whether you) like it or not used to emphasize that something unpleasant is true or will happen and cannot be changed:

Like it or not, people are often judged by their appearance.

9 . I’d like to think/believe (that) used to say that you wish or hope something is true, when you are not sure that it is:

I’d like to think that we offer an excellent service.

I would like to believe that the company can be successful in the future.

• • •


10 . if you like British English

a) used to suggest or offer something to someone:

I can give you her phone number, if you like.

If you like, I could go with you.

b) used to agree to something, even if it is not really what you want yourself:

‘Shall we get a takeaway on the way home?’ ‘If you like.’

c) used to suggest one possible way of describing something or someone:

We don’t have a proper agreement, but we have an informal understanding, if you like.

11 . ROMANTIC to think someone is sexually attractive ⇨ love :

Do you think Alex likes me?

12 . I’d like to see you/him do something used to say that you do not believe someone can do something:

I’d like to see you organize a conference!

13 . how would you like something? used to ask someone to imagine how they would feel if something bad happened to them instead of to you or someone else:

How would you like being left alone for hours in a strange place?

How would you like it if someone treated you in that way?

14 . I like that! British English used to say that what someone has said or done is rude and unfair:

I like that! She didn’t even say thank you!

15 . like it or lump it used to say that someone must accept a situation or decision they do not like because it cannot be changed

• • •


▪ like to think that someone or something is nice:

I like your dress – it’s a beautiful colour.


Do you like spaghetti?


What did you like about the movie?


I like travelling by train.


I like to see the children enjoying themselves.


Everybody liked Mr Schofield.

▪ be fond of somebody/something especially British English to like someone or something, especially something that you have liked for a long time or someone who you have known for a long time:

Connie had always been fond of animals.


Over the years, I’ve become quite fond of him.


He had always been fond of drinking at lunchtime, perhaps too fond.

▪ be keen on somebody/something especially British English spoken to like someone or something – often used in negative sentences:

I like Maria but I’m not keen on her husband.


Our English teacher was very keen on Shakespeare, but I couldn’t stand him.


I was keen on all sports at school.


I know he’s keen on opera. Let’s take him to see 'La Traviata'.


I’m quite keen on the idea of having a fancy dress party.

▪ be into something informal to like doing a particular activity or be interested in a particular subject – used especially by young people:

She’s really into music at the moment.


What kind of films are you into?

▪ have a thing about somebody/something informal to like someone or something, especially something surprising or unusual:

I’ve always had a thing about wolves.


He has this thing about tall women.

▪ be partial to something formal to like to have something – often used humorously:

He’s partial to the occasional glass of wine.

▪ something grows on you used when saying that you begin to like something, especially something that you did not like before:

I didn’t like the colour of the room at first, but it’s growing on me.

■ to like something very much

▪ love/adore to like something very much. Adore is stronger than love but is less common:

I love the smell of coffee.


The children absolutely adore her books.

▪ be crazy about something ( also be mad about something British English informal ) to be extremely interested in an activity and spend a lot of time doing it or watching it:

Jonah’s crazy about basketball.


She’s always been mad about horses.

▪ have a passion for something to like an activity very much, because it gives you a lot of pleasure or excitement:

From a very early age he had a passion for fast cars.


To be a great performer, you have to work very hard and have a passion for the music you play.

▪ be addicted to something to like doing something so much that you spend all your free time doing it:

My son’s addicted to computer games – he hardly ever comes out of his room.


I started watching the show out of curiosity, but now I’m addicted!

III. like 3 W3 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ like ≠ ↑ dislike , ↑ liking ; verb : ↑ like ≠ ↑ dislike ; adjective : ↑ likeable ]

[ Sense 1: Date: 1800-1900 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ like 2 ]

[ Sense 2-3, 5: Date: 1200-1300 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ like 6 ]

1 . sb’s likes and dislikes the things that someone likes and does not like:

We all have our own likes and dislikes when it comes to food.

2 . and the like/and such like and similar things:

Soldiers, policemen, and the like were all called in to help with the emergency.

They believe that the government does not spend enough money on health, education, and such like.

3 . the likes of somebody/something spoken

a) used to talk about someone you do not like or do not approve of:

I don’t want you spending time with the likes of him.

b) used to talk about people of a particular type:

Information is collected through the likes of the FBI, CIA, and Scotland Yard.

4 . the like of somebody/something ( also sb’s/sth’s like ) formal something similar to someone or a particular person or thing, or of equal importance or value:

This will be a show the like of which has never been seen before.

The man was a genius. We shall not see his like again.

IV. like 4 S1 BrE AmE adverb spoken

[ Date: 1700-1800 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ like 1 ]

1 . used in speech to fill a pause while you are thinking what to say next:

The water was, like, really cold.

I was just, like, standing there.

2 . I’m/he’s/she’s like ...

a) used to tell the exact words someone used:

I asked Dave if he wanted to go, and he’s like, no way!

b) used to describe an event, feeling, or person, when it is difficult to describe or when you use a noise instead of words:

She was like, huh? (=she did not understand)

3 . as like as not/like enough British English probably:

The ambulance will be too late, as like as not.

V. like 5 S1 BrE AmE conjunction

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ like 1 ]

1 . in the same way as. Some people consider this use to be incorrect:

No one else can score goals like he can!

Don’t talk to me like you talk to a child.

2 . like I say/said spoken used when you are repeating something that you have already said:

Like I said, I don’t mind helping out on the day.

I’m sorry, but, like I say, she’s not here at the moment.

3 . informal as if. Some people think that this use is not correct English:

He looked at me like I was mad.

It looks like it’s going to rain.

This meat smells like it’s gone bad.

VI. like 6 BrE AmE adjective formal

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: gelic ]

1 . [only before noun] similar in some way:

The second dispute was sorted out in a like manner.

They get on well together because they are of like mind.

Try to buy two fish of like size.

2 . be like to do something old use to be likely to do something

• • •


▪ similar adjective almost the same:

Jo said she’d had a similar experience.


The colours are very similar, but I like this one best.

▪ like preposition similar to something or someone else:

It tastes a little like chicken.


She still looks like a teenager.

▪ alike adjective [not before noun] very similar - used especially about the way people look or behave:

She and her sister look alike.


Lawyers are all alike - I don’t trust them.

▪ close adjective very similar:

The film bears a close resemblance to real life (=is very similar) .


The painting is remarkably close to the original.

▪ much the same very similar:

The glass is still made in much the same way as it was 100 years ago.


People are much the same, wherever you go.


She still looks very much the same.

▪ identical adjective exactly the same:

The two computers were identical in design.


identical names

▪ matching adjective having the same colour, style, pattern etc as something else - used about clothes or furniture that you wear or use together:

She wore matching silver shoes and handbag.


a dining table and matching chairs

▪ akin to something formal fairly similar to something:

These dialects are akin to Arabic, though different in several respects.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.