liv·​ing | \ ˈli-viŋ How to pronounce living (audio) \

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

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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

New retail and living spaces are planned at the corner of Jarvis and Telge Road, giving Cy-Fair area locals more places to shop and live in the future. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "New residential, commercial development coming to Telge Road," 19 July 2019 Jason was 10 years old and living outside of Houston. CBS News, "Podcast spotlights Mississippi double murder – can new DNA technology solve the cold case?," 29 June 2019 Such comparisons suggest that, through his irreverent transformations of classical material, Twombly conceived of the ancient past as a vivid, living thing, something to be bent and reconfigured at will rather than admired from a distance. Andrew Martin, Harper's magazine, "Not Mere Projection," 10 Mar. 2019 Since switching fields, Tarnita has focused her work on how living things orchestrate themselves itself into patterns on different scales. Quanta Magazine, "A Mathematician Who Decodes the Patterns Stamped Out by Life," 20 Dec. 2017 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To those who study cities for a living, Trump’s words seem outdated, a relic of a period in the 1980s and early 1990s when urban America appeared to be in terminal decline. Washington Post, "Trump says cities are ‘a mess.’ They’re actually enjoying a golden age.," 4 Aug. 2019 The table is set for six, music wafts from the living room, and bottles of William Hill Napa Valley Chardonnay sink lower into an icy bath. Sara Mae Albert, Harper's BAZAAR, "How to Plan a Casual Chic Dinner Party," 2 Aug. 2019 It’s also surrounded by 230 acres of pristine land—framed through a wall of windows in the living room—with three ponds and miles of open pastures. Jessica Dailey, ELLE Decor, "The Ultimate Guide to Infusing a Western-Chic Vibe Into Your Home," 1 Aug. 2019 England’s population was booming, while people were leaving the farm for the factory and bitterly poor living conditions in cities. John Broich, The Conversation, "The difference between ‘left’ and ‘liberal’ – and why voters need to know," 30 July 2019 On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations. Linda Gandee/special To,, "Avoid smoke alarm failures; new guidelines mean more home alarms and more saved lives," 29 July 2019 Near Chuck’s family home, his younger brother Lawrence Lockwood Jr. watches crime dramas alone in his living room. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "Clergy Abused an Entire Generation in This Village. With New Traumas, Justice Remains Elusive.," 26 July 2019 Protagonist Emily and her best friend, Becca, declutter for a living through their two-person company. Jamie Lee Curtis, Time, "Jamie Lee Curtis Reviews a Summer Thriller About the Dangers of Decluttering," 25 July 2019 And like many men who tell tales for a living, his grip on reality could be strained. The Economist, "Remembering third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot," 11 July 2019

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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Statistics for living

Last Updated

26 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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
: 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

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