Lifelike things look real, but they're not. A lifelike wax figure might look just like Queen Elizabeth, but it's actually a realistic statue.

An artist whose style is described as "realism" probably paints very lifelike scenes, producing paintings that look a lot like photographs. A child's doll might be disturbingly lifelike, made to look like a real live baby. As with many words, this one started life in the seventeenth century with a completely different meaning, "likely to live." The current definition came along about a hundred years later.

Definitions of lifelike

adj evoking lifelike images within the mind

“a lifelike portrait”
graphic, pictorial, vivid
aware or expressing awareness of things as they really are

adj free from artificiality

“a lifelike pose”
free of artificiality; sincere and genuine

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