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From Middle English lyvenlibben, from Old English lifianlibban (to live; be alive), from Proto-Germanic *libjaną, from Proto-Indo-European *leyp- (leave, cling, linger), often supposed to be an extension of *ley-, *(s)ley- (to slip, slide, glide; slimy). Cognate with Saterland Frisian líeuwje (to live)West Frisian libje (to live)Dutch leven (to live)German Low German levenlęven (to live)German leben (to live)Swedish leva (to live)Icelandic lifa (to live)Gothic 𐌻𐌹𐌱𐌰𐌽 (libanto live).


  • Verb. (Received Pronunciation, General American) enPR: lĭv, IPA(key)/lɪv/
  • Adjective; Adverb. (Received Pronunciation, General American) enPR: līv; IPA(key)/laɪv/


live (third-person singular simple present livespresent participle livingsimple past and past participle lived)

  1. (intransitive) To be alive; to have life.
    He’s not expected to live for more than a few months.
  2. (intransitive) To have permanent residence somewhere, to inhabit, to reside.
    live at 2a Acacia Avenue.  He lives in LA, but he’s staying here over the summer.
    1. (intransitive, informal) (of an object) to have its proper place; to normally be stored.
      I washed your gravy boat. Where does it live?
  3. (intransitive) To survive; to persevere; to continue.
    Her memory lives in that song.
  4. (intransitive, hyperbolic) To cope.
    You’ll just have to live with it!  I can’t live in a world without you.
  5. (intransitive) To pass life in a specified manner.
    It is difficult to live in poverty.   And they lived happily ever after.
  6. (transitive) To spend, as one’s life; to pass; to maintain; to continue in, constantly or habitually.
    To live an idle or a useful life.
  7. (transitive) To act habitually in conformity with; to practice; to exemplify in one’s way of life.
  8. (intransitive) To outlast danger; to float (said of a ship, boat, etc).
    No ship could live in such a storm.
  9. (intransitive, followed by “on” or “upon”) To maintain or support one’s existence; to provide for oneself; to feed; to subsist.
    It is hard to live on the minimum wage.   They lived on stale bread.
  10. (intransitive, informal) To make the most of life; to experience a full, rich life.
    I’m sick of spending every day studying at home: I want to go out there and live!


live (not comparable)

  1. (only used attributively) Having life; that is alive.
    The post office will not ship live animals.
  2. Being in existence; actual
    He is a live example of the consequences of excessive drinking.
  3. Having active properties; being energized.
    Because the vaccinia virus is live, it is important to follow care instructions for the vaccination site.
  4. Operational; in actual use rather than in testing etc.
    1. (programming) Of an object or value: that may potentially be used in the future execution of a program.
  5. Taken from a living animal.
    live feathers
  6. (engineering) Imparting power; having motion.
    the live spindle of a lathe
    live, or driving, axle
  7. (sports) Still in active play.
    live ball
  8. (card games) Of a card: not yet dealt or played.
  9. (broadcasting) Being broadcast (“on the air”), as it happens.
    The station presented a live news program every evening.
    Are we live?
  10. (of a performance or speech) In person.
    This nightclub has a live band on weekends.
  11. (entertainment, performing) Recorded from a performance in front of an audience.
    live album
  12. Of firearms or explosives, capable of causing harm.
    The air force practices dropping live bombs on the uninhabited island.
  13. (circuitry) Electrically charged or energized, usually indicating that the item may cause electrocution if touched.
    Use caution when working near live wires.
  14. (poker) Being a bet which can be raised by the bettor, usually in reference to a blind or straddle.
    Tommy’s blind was live, so he was given the option to raise.
  15. Featuring humans; not animated, in the phrases “live actors” or “live action”.
  16. Being in a state of ignition; burning.
    live coal; live embers
  17. (obsolete, slang, of a person) Full of earnestness; active; wide awake; glowing.
    live man, or orator
  18. (obsolete) Vivid; bright.


live (comparative more livesuperlative most live)

  1. Of an event, as it happens; in real time; direct.
    The concert was broadcast live by radio.
  2. Of making a performance or speech, in person.
    He’ll be appearing live at the auditorium.
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