lif·​er | \ˈlī-fər \

Definition of lifer 

1 : a person sentenced to imprisonment for life

2 : a person who makes a career of one of the armed forces

3 : a person who has made a lifelong commitment (as to a way of life)

Examples of lifer in a Sentence

He was a lifer at the factory.

Recent Examples on the Web

Pennsylvania at that time had the largest juvenile-lifer population in the nation. Samantha Melamed,, "Why are juvenile lifers from Philly getting radically different sentences than those in the rest of Pennsylvania?," 10 July 2018 At 70, Romney is not planning to become a congressional lifer. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Is Mitt Romney the future or the past of the Republican Party?," 2 Feb. 2018 Goodrum, now 26, is bound to be a baseball lifer because of that approach to the game. George Stoia, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers utilityman Niko Goodrum driven 'like Michael Jordan'," 8 July 2018 One lifer has been commuted under a Republican governor in the past three decades. Samantha Melamed,, "Sisters begged the Board of Pardons to free their brother's killer. The board said 'no'," 28 June 2018 The epitome of the baseball lifer, Mr. Schoendienst became a revered figure in St. Louis. Richard Goldstein,, "Red Schoendienst, St. Louis Cardinals star and oldest Hall of Famer," 8 June 2018 The epitome of the baseball lifer, Schoendienst became a revered figure in St. Louis. Richard Goldstein, New York Times, "Red Schoendienst, Cardinals Star and Oldest Hall of Famer, Dies at 95," 6 June 2018 Never a star, Mr. Garcia was a lifer who devoted himself to baseball while toiling in obscurity in the minors, as a teammate and manager of future major leaguers like pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm and first baseman Bill White. Richard Sandomir,, "Dave Garcia, baseball lifer who made majors as manager, dies at 97," 26 May 2018 The film is executive produced by Martin Luther King’s conservative niece Alveda King (within the film, MLK himself is falsely depicted as a pro-lifer). Anna Silman, The Cut, "The Pro-Life ‘Roe v. Wade’ Movie Sounds Like a Total Disaster," 13 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of lifer

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lifer

Statistics for lifer

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lifer

The first known use of lifer was in 1827

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lifer



English Language Learners Definition of lifer

: a person who spends an entire career in the same job

: a criminal who has been sentenced to spend the rest of his or her life in prison

More from Merriam-Webster on lifer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lifer

Comments on lifer

What made you want to look up lifer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!