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[uh-lahyv] /əˈlaɪv/
having life; living; existing; not dead or lifeless.
living (used for emphasis):
the proudest man alive.
in a state of action; in force or operation; active:
to keep hope alive.
full of energy and spirit; lively:
Grandmother's more alive than most of her contemporaries.
having the quality of life; vivid; vibrant:
The room was alive with color.
Electricity. live2 (def 17).
alive to, alert or sensitive to; aware of:
City planners are alive to the necessity of revitalizing deteriorating neighborhoods.
alive with, filled with living things; swarming; teeming:
The room was alive with mosquitoes.
look alive!, pay attention! move quickly!:
Look alive! We haven't got all day.
Origin of alive
before 1000; Middle English; Old English on līfe in life; see a-1
Related forms
aliveness, noun
half-alive, adjective
4. active.
1. dead. 3. defunct. 4. lifeless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for alive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I tell you he's alive and well, only he's lost your money and Pish's and mine and his own.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Do you think there is any chance of my father being yet alive?

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Do you think, if I were alive, I would let any man rob me of the savings of my life?

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • He came home with me, and, far from having perished at sea, is now alive and well.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • He's left a gent more dead than alive back in Martindale, and I want him.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
British Dictionary definitions for alive


adjective (postpositive)
(of people, animals, plants, etc) living; having life
in existence; active: they kept hope alive, the tradition was still alive
(immediately postpositive and usually used with a superlative) of those living; now living: the happiest woman alive
full of life; lively: she was wonderfully alive for her age
(usually foll by with) animated: a face alive with emotion
(foll by to) aware (of); sensitive (to)
(foll by with) teeming (with): the mattress was alive with fleas
(electronics) another word for live2 (sense 11)
alive and kicking, (of a person) active and in good health
look alive!, hurry up! get busy!
Derived Forms
aliveness, noun
Word Origin
Old English on līfe in life
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for alive

c.1200, from Old English on life "in living." The fuller form on live was still current 17c. Alive and kicking "alert, vigorous," attested from 1859; "The allusion is to a child in the womb after quickening" [Farmer]. Used emphatically, especially with man; e.g.:

[A]bout a thousand gentlemen having bought his almanacks for this year, merely to find what he said against me, at every line they read they would lift up their eyes, and cry out betwixt rage and laughter, "they were sure no man alive ever writ such damned stuff as this." [Jonathan Swift, Bickerstaff's Vindication, 1709]
Thus abstracted as an expletive, man alive! (1845).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with alive
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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