life

noun
\ ˈlīf How to pronounce life (audio) \
plural lives\ ˈlīvz How to pronounce lives (audio) \

Definition of life

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body
b : a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings
c : an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism (see metabolism sense 1), growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction
2a : the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual children … are the joy of our lives— Agnes S. Turnbull
b : one or more aspects of the process of living sex life of the frog
3 : biography sense 1 the life of George Washington
4 : spiritual existence transcending (see transcend sense 1c) physical death his craving … for the release into the life to come— Rodney Gilbert
5a : the period from birth to death
b : a specific phase of earthly existence adult life
c : the period from an event until death a judge appointed for life
d : a sentence of imprisonment for the remainder of a convict's life
6 : a way or manner of living the life of the colonists
7 : livelihood The fishing village drew its life from the sea.
8 : a vital or living being specifically : person many lives were lost in the disaster
9 : an animating and shaping force or principle the life of the constitution … has been not logic but experience— F. A. Ogg & Harold Zink
10 : spirit, animation saw no life in her dancing
11 : the form or pattern of something existing in reality painted from life
12 : the period of duration, usefulness, or popularity of something the expected life of the batteries
13 : the period of existence (as of a subatomic particle) — compare half-life
14 : a property (such as resilience (see resilience sense 1) or elasticity) of an inanimate (see inanimate sense 1) substance or object resembling the animate quality of a living being
15 : living beings (as of a particular kind or environment) forest life
16a : human activities
b : animate activity and movement stirrings of life
c : the activities of a given sphere, area, or time the political life of the country
17 : one providing interest and vigor life of the party
18 : an opportunity for continued viability gave the patient a new life
19 capitalized, Christian Science : god sense 1b
20 : something resembling animate life a grant saved the project's life

life

adjective

Definition of life (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to animate being
2 : lifelong a life member
3 : using a living model a life class
4 : of, relating to, or provided by life insurance a life policy

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Synonyms for life

Synonyms: Noun

bio, biography, memoir

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Examples of life in a Sentence

Noun

He believes that God gives life to all creatures. She was happy and healthy for most of her life. The people in her family tend to have long lives. I've known her all my life. He is nearing the end of his life. People can expect to change jobs several times in their life . They've been waiting their whole life for an opportunity like this. What do you really want out of life? All this paperwork has made life much more difficult. The details of everyday life can be fascinating.

Adjective

the life force in all things He was given a life sentence in prison.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While everyone else in Winterfell sacrificed their lives and fought the dead head-on, Bran seemingly took a 73 minute-long nap for the entire episode. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "'Game of Thrones' Bran Stark Finally Explained What He Was Actually Doing During the Battle of Winterfell," 10 May 2019 Memorial Day commemorates courageous soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty — all in the name of freedom. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Are Banks Open on Memorial Day? Check to See if Your Local Branch Will Stay Open," 9 May 2019 Simply drain it after use, or make your life even easier by using a filter. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Stock Tank Pools Will Be More Popular Than Ever This Summer," 9 May 2019 Calling all last-minute gift shoppers: Whole Foods and Amazon are here to save your life this Mother's Day—which is this Sunday, surprise!—with their incredible deal made for the procrastinator. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "You Can Order a 20-Stem Bunch of Tulips for $10 From Whole Foods This Mother’s Day," 7 May 2019 Your furry baby fills your life with love and joy; what’s a little slobber? Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "How Unsanitary Is It to Kiss Your Pet on the Mouth?," 2 May 2019 Food deserts have a particularly negative affect on children as well, who need to have a healthy diet in the first few years of their life in order to develop properly. Jessica Booth, Redbook, "Everything You Need To Know About Food Deserts," 29 Apr. 2019 The first scenes start just as his life did, born on a train in rural Russia and then catapulted to the pinnacle of the ballet world, dancing for the world famous Kirov (now Mariinsky) and the Bolshoi ballets during the 1950s. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "Anna Wintour, Patti Smith, and Sarah Jessica Parker Attend a Screening for Ralph Fiennes’s White Crow," 24 Apr. 2019 Streaming on Netflix Tuesday, April 16 Bless This Mess: Lake Bell and Dax Shepard star in this new comedy series about a couple who decides to uproot their lives in New York City and move to rural Nebraska. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "These 9 TV Shows and Movies Are About to Make Your Week So Much Better," 14 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Sometimes in life things happen that are totally out of your control. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Panthers LB Thomas Davis talks suspension, possible (likely?) change in plan beyond that," 14 June 2018 And happy birthday to Barbara (a year younger than universal credit cards), from Kit, who outlines her Life Timeline like this: My mom is turning 66 in July. Rosa Inocencio Smith, The Atlantic, "The Atlantic," 9 July 2017 Or possibly bring his More Life international collaborators to the U.S. stage? Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "A Look Back at Drake's Past Awards Show Performances Before Billboard Music Awards," 19 May 2017 This actually has little to do with profanity; something can be profane or crude and still fundamentally life-affirming. Carolyn Hax, The Mercury News, "Carolyn Hax: Wife just looking for respite from all the anger," 5 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'life.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of life

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for life

Noun and Adjective

Middle English lif, from Old English līf; akin to Old English libban to live — more at live

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Statistics for life

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for life

The first known use of life was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for life

life

noun

English Language Learners Definition of life

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the ability to grow, change, etc., that separates plants and animals from things like water or rocks
: the period of time when a person is alive
: the experience of being alive

life

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of life (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to life
: done as long as a person lives : existing or lasting throughout a person's life

life

noun
\ ˈlīf How to pronounce life (audio) \
plural lives\ ˈlīvz \

Kids Definition of life

1 : the state characterized by the ability to get and use energy, reproduce, grow, and respond to change : the quality that plants and animals lose when they die
2 : the period during which a person or thing is alive or exists
3 : all the experiences that make up the existence of a person : the course of existence I never heard of such a thing in my life!
4 : existence as a living being He saved my life.
5 : a way of living We studied the life of the ant.
6 : the time when something can be used or enjoyed the life of a battery
7 : energy and spirit They gave the party some life.
8 : biography

life

noun
\ ˈlīf How to pronounce life (audio) \
plural lives\ ˈlīvz How to pronounce lives (audio) \

Medical Definition of life

1a : the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional plant or animal from a dead body
b : a state of living characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction
2a : the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual
b : a specific part or aspect of the process of living sex life adult life

Other Words from life

lifeless \ ˈlīf-​ləs How to pronounce lifeless (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on life

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with life

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for life

Spanish Central: Translation of life

Nglish: Translation of life for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of life for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about life

Comments on life

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