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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for half-alive
Historical Examples
  • With him, she was only half-alive; the rest was dormant, deadened.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • They don't ever understand, these easy, half-alive, untempted folks!


    M. Leonora Eyles
  • The noose slipped, and I was dangling in the air in excruciating agony, half-dead and half-alive.

  • The unfortunate victims, when you chance to meet them, mostly look but half-alive, and dismally cold.

    The Mark Of Cain Andrew Lang
  • Mrs. Rowan sat by her husband's side, leaning back in her chair, with closed eyes and clasped hands, only half-alive.

  • I was released on May 30th on a seven days' licence, and in a half-alive state was again carried to a nursing home.

    My Own Story Emmeline Pankhurst
  • There had been a deluge of sense-impressions in the Dog-shape; there was dull, stiff, half-alive inadequacy to the Man-shape.

    Keep Your Shape Robert Sheckley
  • Tiyang had leaped to his feet in the dusk, a Ginseng root, half-alive, hanging from one hand and beginning to squirm.

    The Slayer Of souls Robert Chambers
  • I saw him from the wing by the side of that girl with her face the colour of mahogany, and her half-alive look.

    A Siren Thomas Adolphus Trollope
  • Darkness flooded my soul, and from that moment onward my sensibilities have been but half-alive.

British Dictionary definitions for half-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 half-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 half-alive
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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