liv·​ing | \ ˈli-viŋ \

Definition of living

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having life
b : active, functioning living languages
2a : exhibiting the life or motion of nature : natural the wilderness is a living museum … of natural historyNEA Jour.
3a : full of life or vigor
b : true to life : vivid televised in living color
c : suited for living the living area
4 : involving living persons
5 : very used as an intensive scared the living daylights out of me



Definition of living (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the condition of being alive
2a : means of subsistence : livelihood earning a living
b archaic : estate, property
c British : benefice sense 1
3 : conduct or manner of life the collegiate way of living— J. B. Conant

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from living


livingness noun

Examples of living in a Sentence


I was taught to respect all living things. His aunt is his closest living relative. He's one of our greatest living authors. It was the first time I had ever seen a living, breathing bear in the wild.


the challenges of city living It's summertime, and the living is easy. the living and the dead The world belongs to the living.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Among living spaces is a chef's kitchen with smokeless hibachi grills and a master suite with two walk-in closets and a private terrace. Neal J. Leitereg,, "Former Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson sells Beverly Crest contemporary for $16 million," 9 Mar. 2018 By making the audience constantly second-guess her motives based on very little evidence, the mystery of Renée demonstrated how living life undercover, never trusting anyone, can warp you. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The Americans seeks a new “START” in a tremendous series finale," 31 May 2018 The Mesa City Councilvoted to introduce its own sober living home ordinance Monday night, which will require operatorsto be licensed with the city. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Waiting for state sober living home rules, cities add their own restrictions," 7 July 2018 Its flexible design also allows for the addition of a second floor for even more living space. Tony Bacewicz,, "North Woods of Colchester, Colchester," 22 Mar. 2018 Gray’s predecessor, the Rev. Lester K. Jackson, a progressive civil rights leader, argued for better employment opportunities and improved living conditions for blacks. Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune, "Longtime Gary minster dead at 90," 8 May 2018 Putin took the oath of office for his fourth term as Russian president on Monday and promised to pursue an economic agenda that would boost living standards across the country. Washington Post, "Putin vows to boost Russian economy as he begins 4th term," 8 May 2018 That’s a remarkable figure, considering that just within living memory fewer than 5,000 people called the neighborhood home. Scott Garner,, "Neighborhood Spotlight: Reseda, a Valley proxy, is slightly sleepy but not sluggish," 13 Apr. 2018 The need for more living donors has prompted BJC officials to explore joining a Johns Hopkins Medicine pilot program for a Facebook app directed at people in need of an organ donation. Rachel Rice,, "Amid long waits for organ transplants, some launch their own searches," 10 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Such policies pay for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. David Benoit, WSJ, "In GE Probe, Ex-Staffers Say Insurance Risks Were Ignored," 30 Nov. 2018 It was reported at 5:34 p.m. July 10 that there was possible drug use among tenants at Beds Plus, an affordable living facility at 9601 W. Ogden Ave. Hank Beckman,, "La Grange police blotter: Residents report two people in car pointed guns at them," 13 July 2018 The event was a joint collaboration between local event producer 2332 Collective and Winston House, a living-room-style weekly concert series hosted in the home of entrepreneur Corey McGuire, who is driving the growth of LA's westside music scene. Nicole Pajer, Billboard, "Winston House & 2332 Collective Make Sure West LA Music Scene Doesn't Fade Away," 2 July 2018 Does this mean Jon survives the upcoming battle between the living and the dead, but the Stark sisters don't? Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Theories from the New Teaser Hint at Jon Snow and Bran Stark's Futures," 15 Jan. 2019 By the 1970s, Americans’ interest in two-story living and more traditional spaces returned and the popularity of the Ranch began to wane. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "Here’s Why Ranch-Style Houses Are Called Ranches," 20 Dec. 2018 The boots, combined with evidence from his bones, suggest that the man may have died on the river while trying to earn a living. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Medieval skeleton’s boots reveal harsh realities of life on the Thames," 6 Dec. 2018 And like today, many in the 19th Century anti-vaccination movement hailed from large cities, were educated and earned a decent living. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, "The Long History of America's Anti-Vaccination Movement," 24 Nov. 2018 The promotion will feature all the things that have become synonymous with life as a millennial: stagnant wages, a rising cost of living and crushing debt. Dan Gartland,, "Montgomery Biscuits Plan ‘Millennial Night’ With Avocados and Selfies," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'living.' 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 living


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about living

Statistics for living

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for living

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for living



English Language Learners Definition of living

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not dead : having life
: currently active or being used
: having the form of a person who is alive



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

: a way of earning money : the money that someone needs to pay for housing, food, etc.
: a way of living
: people who are alive


liv·​ing | \ ˈli-viŋ\

Kids Definition of living

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not dead : alive We're his closest living relatives.
2 : true to life You are the living image of your parents.



Kids Definition of living (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the condition of being alive
2 : conduct or manner of life healthy living
3 : what a person has to have to meet basic needs She made a living as a cook.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on living

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for living

Spanish Central: Translation of living

Nglish: Translation of living for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of living for Arabic Speakers

Comments on living

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


esteemed in general opinion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
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!