What is the earliest usage of the verb "like" to mean "to be pleased by"? Example: "I like pasta."

In this usage, like as a transitive verb in which the person doing the liking is the subject, and that which is liked is the object.

In Spanish they do it the other way around: One cannot say in Spanish, "I like pasta." Instead you have to say, "pasta pleases me." (me gusta la pasta). Pasta is the subject and the person who likes it is the object.

1 Answer 1


The earliest use in this sense given by both OED 1 (6) and MED (2) is from the early thirteenth century:

Mildheorted beð þe man þe reouð his nehgebures unselðe and likeð here alre selðe...

That man is compassionate who pities his neighbours' misfortune and likes (= is pleased by) all their success ...
Trinity Homilies

Earlier (and for some considerable time later) the word was used in the sense "please" — It liketh me.


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