lif·​er ˈlī-fər How to pronounce lifer (audio)
: a person sentenced to imprisonment for life
: a person who makes a career of one of the armed forces
: 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 Unlike many of the other Colstrip lifers who share their stories, several of Williams’ kids have left town. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2024 Back then, the idea of non-baseball lifers running teams based on numbers and analytics was more of a curiosity. Jerry Beach, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 Packed to capacity, with dozens of spectators resigned to watching from the doorway and baselines, Lillard was the most notable of a whole gallery of Oakland lifers who crammed into the bleachers to watch the game. Joseph Dycus, The Mercury News, 6 Mar. 2024 The first shot at manning the top dugout step for Shildt, a baseball lifer, plopped onto his lap midway through the 2018 season, when the Cardinals canned Mike Matheny. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Mar. 2024 Led by Yoshikawa – a basketball lifer who was the head coach at West Valley from 2001-07 before spending 13 years coaching overseas and at four-year schools, including USF and Saint Mary’s – the Vikings have dominated opponents. Darren Sabedra, The Mercury News, 14 Mar. 2024 This time around, Vasquez is reemphasizing her original stance that South L.A. is a place where newcomers are a constant and share many of the same struggles as lifers. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2024 All things considered, Shanahan has done pretty well with the 49ers as a 44-year-old NFL coaching lifer whose father, Mike Shanahan, won a couple of Super Bowls with John Elway and the Denver Broncos. Terence Moore, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Will is a lifer, accustomed to the ups – and many more downs – of dedicating oneself to the Lions. Detroit Free Press, 28 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lifer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lifer was in 1827

Dictionary Entries Near lifer

Cite this Entry

“Lifer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

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