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like 1 (līk)
v. liked, lik·ing, likes
1. 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 coffeewith sugar or without?
3. To feel about; regard: How do you like these new theater seats?
4. To believe or predict that (a certain competitor) will win a contest: Which team do you like in tonight's game?
5. 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.
6. Archaic To be pleasing to.
1. To have an inclination or a preference: If you like, we can meet you there.
2. Scots To be pleased.
Something that is liked; a preference: made a list of his likes and dislikes.
like it or not
No matter how one might feel: Like it or not, we have to get up early tomorrow.

[Middle English liken, from Old English līcian, to please; see līk- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
like 2 (līk)
1. 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.
3. Inclined or disposed to: felt like running away.
4. As if the probability exists for: looks like a bad year for farmers.
5. 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.
1. In the manner of being; as if. Used as an intensifier of action: worked like hell; ran like crazy.
2. Informal Probably; likely: Like as not she'll change her mind.
3. Nearly; approximately: The price is more like 1,000 dollars.
4. 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.
1. One similar to or like another. Used with the: was subject to coughs, asthma, and the like.
2. 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.
Usage Problem
1. In the same way that; as: To dance like she does requires great discipline.
2. As if: It looks like we'll finish on time.
be like Informal
To say or utter. Used chiefly in oral narration: And he's like, "Leave me alone!"
like so
In the manner indicated: You apply the paint like so.

[Middle English, from like, similar (from Old English gelīc and Old Norse līkr) and from like, similarly (from Old English gelīce, from gelīc, similar); see līk- in the Appendix of 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 Notes at as1, together.

Our Living Language Along with be all and go, the construction combining be and like 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. See Note at go1.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
like 3 (līk) also liked (līkt)
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).

[Middle English liken, to compare, from like, similar; see LIKE2.]

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 or liked is possible. In the first, the word is followed by a past infinitive: We like (or liked) 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.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Resembling or characteristic of: ladylike.

[Middle English, from like, similar; see LIKE2.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.