lif·​er | \ ˈlī-fər How to pronounce lifer (audio) \

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 Osamu is a Suzuki lifer in a company that was founded by the grandfather of his wife. Peter Lyon, Forbes, "Osamu Suzuki To Retire After More Than 40 Years At Suzuki’s Helm," 27 Feb. 2021 In the frantic final hour, another lifer opened Sasha Obama’s bedroom closet and groaned, because it was still filled with the teen-ager’s clothes. Susannah Jacob, The New Yorker, "The Secret Life of the White House," 24 Feb. 2021 Ligon takes a tour of his new neighborhood with John Pace, a former juvenile lifer himself who works as a reentry coordinator for the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project. Karen Heller, Washington Post, "Locked up at age 15, Joe Ligon became the nation’s longest-serving juvenile ‘lifer.’ Now, at 83, he’s finally free — and reentering an unfamiliar world.," 19 Feb. 2021 Among his advocates was John Pace, 52, a former juvenile lifer who knew Ligon for two decades in Graterford prison, earned a bachelor’s degree from Villanova and works for the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP). Author: Karen Heller, Anchorage Daily News, "After 68 years behind bars, the nation’s longest-serving juvenile lifer embraces freedom," 19 Feb. 2021 That's how many years Joe Ligon, believed to be the oldest and longest-serving juvenile lifer in the US, spent behind bars. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "5 things to know for February 18: Texas, Covid-19, immigration, Limbaugh, Facebook," 18 Feb. 2021 John Pace, a former juvenile lifer and now a re-entry coordinator for the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP), recalled a fruitless visit to the prison with a group of other ex-lifers. al, "Joe Ligon, Alabama farm boy who was America’s oldest juvenile lifer, leaves prison at 82," 12 Feb. 2021 The epitome of an Amazon lifer, Mr. Jassy helped conceive and proselytize many of the company’s mechanisms and internal culture. New York Times, "How Andy Jassy, Amazon’s Next C.E.O., Was a ‘Brain Double’ for Jeff Bezos," 3 Feb. 2021 Her father, Lance Shuler, was a lifer at Portland General Electric. oregonlive, "American labor movement looks to Oregon women for new leader, solidarity," 30 Jan. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of lifer

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for lifer

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lifer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of lifer

US : 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

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