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

And another juvenile lifer, Jorge Cintron Jr., was resentenced to 30 years to life for three murders; he could be released by age 47. Samantha Melamed,, "Why are juvenile lifers from Philly getting radically different sentences than those in the rest of Pennsylvania?," 10 July 2018 So, what should pro-lifers do with all this information? David French, National Review, "In a Post-Roe World, Pro-Lifers Would Still Have a Lot of Work Left to Do," 19 July 2019 Roberts is a baseball lifer with one championship already. Mike Hutton,, "Hutton: Washington Township coach Randy Roberts says, 'We're not going down there hoping to win. We expect to win.'," 15 June 2019 Martelli isn’t just a Philly guy, but a Philly lifer. Mike Jensen,, "How did Juwan Howard hire Phil Martelli as his assistant? There’s a tale that involves a lot of hoop coaches.," 4 June 2019 Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s boss, is a Bible-reading company lifer who looks the part, from the cut of his jaw to the azure of his eyes. The Economist, "Boeing’s boss wins a reprieve, not redemption," 21 June 2019 This number of lifers accounts for 59 percent of the graduating class. Sergio Carmona,, "Caps off to the Claire and Emanuel G. Rosenblatt High School graduates," 13 June 2019 Now, there are 24, containing 48,000 inmates and 5,000 lifers like Barlow. Samantha Melamed,, "The last death-row inmate at Eastern State Penitentiary returns after 50 years in prison," 6 June 2019 However, as prisoners age, the medical costs go up and a lot of these lifers have been serving a long time. John Baer,, "Sharif Street is on a mission for criminal justice reform," 29 June 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.

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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

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for lifer

The first known use of lifer was in 1827

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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

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).


concealment of treason or felony

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