August 25, 2016
enliven (verb)
\in-LYE-vun\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to give life, action, or spirit to : animate
How do you use it?
"Lichens enliven the faces of the cliffs with their bright colors, and in some of the warmer nooks of the rocks, up to a height of eleven thousand feet, there are a few tufts of dwarf daisies . . ." (John Muir, _Steep Trails_)
Are you a word wiz?

The naturalist John Muir used the word "enliven" to describe how lichens give life to the faces of the cliffs he sees. Three of the following words are synonyms of "enliven." Which do you think is NOT a synonym?

Answer B, "relate," is the one that's not synonymous with "enliven" and the others, which all mean "to make alive or lively." Although not its most common sense, "quicken" can specifically mean "to make or become alive" or "revive." "Quicken" (ultimately from Old English "cwic," meaning "alive") stresses a sudden renewal of life or activity, as in "warm spring days that quickened the earth." With its meaning of "to give life or spirit to," "animate" (ultimately from Latin "anima," meaning "breath" or "soul") emphasizes the bringing of motion or vitality to something, as in "smiles that animated the children's faces." "Vivify" (ultimately from Latin "vivus," meaning "alive") can mean "to put life into," and implies a freshening or energizing, as in "rains that vivified the parched land."
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