Meaning of livery company in English:

livery company

Pronunciation /ˈlɪvəri ˌkʌmpəni/


  • (in the UK) any of a number of Companies of the City of London descended from the medieval trade guilds. They are now largely social and charitable organizations.

    ‘During the mid 1800s, many colleges purchased their own barges, often from London livery companies, which they used as club rooms and moored alongside Christ Church meadow.’
    • ‘Ancient crafts met modern technology when members of a London livery company visited Clyde Naval Base.’
    • ‘Frequented by stockbrokers, trading and livery companies, insurance schemes (spurred by the fire of 1666) were initiated, ‘bubble’ schemes hatched, and ships' passages announced there.’
    • ‘A limited number of these have survived in England, mostly in the collections of city livery companies, but one of the most stunning examples is in the Portland Art Museum (Pl. V).’
    • ‘Speaking to my own, Royal Tank Regiment, which has two units in Iraq, I was told our affiliated London City livery company, the Vintners, has made a very generous donation of money for the immediate welfare of our families.’
    • ‘There are official connections with the City of London because nearly all the restoration money came from the City from banks and the livery companies.’
    • ‘The trades were in theory all supervised and regulated by the livery companies, one for each trade.’
    • ‘Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, founded the almshouses for the poor men of Greenwich shortly before his death in 1614 and entrusted its management to the Mercers' Company, which is a livery company.’
    • ‘He was an honorary medical officer to the Royal Windsor Horse show and the Guards Polo Club from their inception and a member of the Barbers livery company.’
    • ‘The uniformly good to high quality of the output also suggests some form of quality control, perhaps indicating that the regulatory role of the livery companies was far from over.’
    • ‘Three canvases remained in the family, and were in due course given to The Goldsmiths' Company as a consequence of the family's long-standing association with that particular livery company.’


Mid 17th century so named because of the distinctive costume formerly used for special occasions.