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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 look alive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "look alive as soon as you can do it," Mary heard him say to them, and wondered.

    Christmas Zona Gale
  • Don't be talking now, but look alive, and I'll keep his sister off if need be.

    The Power of Darkness Leo Tolstoy
  • The thing for you to do is to keep your eyes peeled and look alive.

    Walter and the Wireless Sara Ware Bassett
  • All right, Tommy; let them look alive with the women and children; get up a light if you can.

    The Lifeboat R.M. Ballantyne
  • Isaac, get me my hat—any hat or cap, anything you can find—only look alive.

  • If you are to do any good here, you know, we shall have to look alive.

    Miss Marjoribanks Mrs (Margaret) Oliphant
  • (He springs up, crying) look alive, Johnnies: there's danger.

    Captain Brassbound's Conversion George Bernard Shaw
  • look alive with that axe, Tom; he can't breathe, and he's being roasted!

    Peccavi E. W. Hornung
British Dictionary definitions for look 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 look 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 look alive

look alive

Act lively, hurry up, as in Look alive! This job has to be finished today. This phrase, often used as an imperative, today is more common in Britain than in America. [ Mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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