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.

b : live entry 2 sense 2a

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

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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.
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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

The home unfolds on two levels, with the main floor playing host to the living room and master bedroom. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Blocky concrete home hides an airy second level," 8 Nov. 2018 Of course, that portrait now hangs in her living room, among Louis XIV–style furnishings, artworks by Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler, and a jewel box by David Linley carved to look like their old estate. Kate Donnelly, Town & Country, "At Home with Texas Philanthropist Lynn Wyatt," 19 Oct. 2018 In her living room, large windows overlooking her neighborhood welcome daylight that reaches into the kitchen. Terrell Jermaine Starr, The Root, "Cynthia Nixon’s Campaign Against White Privilege," 28 June 2018 In 2010, the cost of living in Anchorage was slightly higher than Seattle, the report shows, but by 2015 that was no longer the case. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Another year of low inflation in Anchorage has downside for low-paid workers," 9 July 2018 Posters urging citizens to report residents suspected of living in the U.S. illegally to the federal government were posted last weekend in downtown Tacoma, including on the door of the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource center. Craig Sailor, The Seattle Times, "White-supremacist posters in Tacoma urge reporting of undocumented residents," 4 July 2018 The lawsuit alleges that counting inmates as living in the facility where they are imprisoned – rather than their residential address before they were sent away – gives the regions where prisons are located a political boost. Matthew Kauffman,, "NAACP Sues Connecticut Over 'Prison Gerrymandering'," 28 June 2018 Hardy took the unusual step of living in the upstairs dormitories, to fully immerse himself in training and resist temptation. Robert Klemko,, "Greg Hardy, the UFC and the Limits of the Second Chance," 25 June 2018 The decision to make the scholarship go to an undocumented student is consistent with the show's history of shining a light on the Latinx experience of living in the United States. Lindsey V Thompson, Teen Vogue, "Gina Rodriguez Announces College Scholarship for Undocumented Latinx Student," 19 June 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for living

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

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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

the 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.

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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).


by force of circumstances

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