View synonyms for active


[ ak-tiv ]


  1. engaged in action; characterized by energetic work, participation, etc.; busy:

    an active life.

    Synonyms: operative, working, acting

    Antonyms: lazy

  2. being in a state of existence, progress, or motion:

    active hostilities.

  3. involving physical effort and action:

    active sports.

  4. having the power of quick motion; nimble:

    active as a gazelle.

    Synonyms: sprightly, agile

  5. characterized by action, motion, volume, use, participation, etc.:

    an active market in wheat; an active list of subscribers.

    Antonyms: sluggish

  6. causing activity or change; capable of exerting influence ( passive ):

    active treason.

  7. effective ( inert ):

    active ingredients.

  8. Grammar. noting or pertaining to a voice of verbal inflection in which typically the subject of the sentence is represented as performing the action expressed by the verb ( passive ): Writes in He writes a letter every day is an active verb form.
  9. requiring or giving rise to action; practical:

    an active course.

  10. Geology. (of a volcano) having erupted within the last 10,000 years and likely to do so again or currently in a state of eruption. Compare dormant ( def ), extinct ( def ).
  11. Accounting. profitable; busy:

    active accounts.

  12. requiring personal effort or attention; not automatic:

    an active alarm system.

  13. interest-bearing:

    active paper.

  14. Medicine/Medical. acting quickly; producing immediate effects:

    active remedies.

  15. Sociology. (of a crowd) engaging in purposeful activity, often of a militant nature. Compare expressive ( def 4 ).
  16. Aerospace. able to transmit signals:

    an active communications satellite.

  17. Electronics. (of a device or system) acting as a source of electrical energy, as a generator, or capable of amplifying or converting voltages or currents, as a transistor or diode.
  18. (of a solar heating system) accumulating and distributing solar heat by mechanical means.
  19. Military. serving on active duty.


  1. Grammar.
    1. the active voice.
    2. a form or construction in the active voice.
  2. an active person, member, subscriber, etc.:

    The circular was mailed only to the actives on our list.

  3. Informal. something showing considerable action or activity:

    On the stock market there was heavy trading in the actives.


/ ˈæktɪv /


  1. in a state of action; moving, working, or doing something
  2. busy or involved

    an active life

  3. physically energetic
  4. exerting influence; effective

    an active ingredient

  5. grammar
    1. denoting a voice of verbs used to indicate that the subject of a sentence is performing the action or causing the event or process described by the verb, as kicked in The boy kicked the football Compare passive
    2. another word for nonstative
  6. being fully engaged in military service (esp in the phrase on active service )
  7. (of a volcano) erupting periodically; not extinct Compare dormant extinct
  8. See quiet
    astronomy (of the sun) exhibiting a large number of sunspots, solar flares, etc, and a marked variation in intensity and frequency of radio emission Compare quiet
  9. commerce
    1. producing or being used to produce profit, esp in the form of interest

      active balances

    2. of or denoting stocks or shares that have been actively bought and sold as recorded in the Official List of the London Stock Exchange
  10. electronics
    1. containing a source of power

      an active network

    2. capable of amplifying a signal or controlling some function

      an active communication satellite

      an active component


  1. grammar
    1. the active voice
    2. an active verb
  2. a member of an organization who participates in its activities

Discover More

Derived Forms

  • ˈactiveness, noun
  • ˈactively, adverb

Discover More

Other Words From

  • ac·tive·ly adverb
  • ac·tive·ness noun
  • non·ac·tive adjective noun
  • pre·ac·tive adjective
  • pre·ac·tive·ness noun
  • qua·si-ac·tive adjective
  • sem·i·ac·tive adjective
  • sem·i·ac·tive·ness noun
  • su·per·ac·tive adjective
  • su·per·ac·tive·ness noun

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of active1

First recorded in 1300–50; from Latin āctīvus; replacing Middle English actif, from Middle French, from Latin; act, -ive

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of active1

C14: from Latin āctīvus. See act , -ive

Discover More

Synonym Study

Active, energetic, strenuous, vigorous imply a liveliness and briskness in accomplishing something. Active suggests quickness and diligence as opposed to laziness or dilatory methods: an active and useful person. Energetic suggests forceful and intense, sometimes nervous, activity: conducting an energetic campaign. Strenuous implies arduous and zealous activity with a sense of urgency: a strenuous effort. Vigorous suggests strong, effective activity: using vigorous measures to accomplish an end.

Discover More

Example Sentences

Unlike molecular and antigen diagnostic tests, the FDA warned that blood-based antibody tests were not intended to diagnose an active infection but rather reveal if someone previously had the virus.

To ensure you’re getting those steps in and staying active this fall, there are a few essential items you might need to elevate your home or gym workout routine.

Opposition groups with links to politically active churches — who were blamed for the recent virus resurgence — are planning a series of mass protests in the capital over the coming weeks.

From Ozy

In 2018, Damer set up shop at an active geothermal area in New Zealand, named along the usual theme — Hells Gate — to test that hypothesis.

An initial handful of fine-dining partners has climbed to over 100 active and pledged members.

“The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program,” the Times reported.

Almost immediately, another group active at the protests called the Justice League snitches.

Along the river, crumbling remnants of an active trading hub are overtaken by nature.

But, under the hawkish eye of the media and through a heavily active social media presence, she carried on as usual.

Female members have been involved in the carnage for the past two years, but never in such an active role.

We must have motif first, then technique to adapt and adjust expression and to develop facility in the active agents.

With the announcement of the thirty-six directors, it was possible to proceed to the active opening of the institutions.

He became one of the assistants of Mr. Wesley, and was active in the service of the church.

The opposite of these two methods of rote learning is my method, which injects an active process between each pair of words.

He continued active till his 35th year, when he began to decline, and died of water in the chest.


Discover More

More About Active

What is a basic definition of active?

Active is an adjective that describes something as involving a lot of energetic work or as engaging in action, operation, or motion. The word active is used in grammar to indicate that the subject of the sentence is performing an action. The word active has other senses as an adjective and a noun.

If something or someone is active, a lot of activity is going on or they are using a lot of energy.

  • Real-life examples: Professional athletes, firefighters, and police officers usually have very active jobs. An active day at the stock market involves a lot of buying and selling. Ants, birds, and bees live active lives, moving around a lot, compared to animals such as sloths, slugs, and turtles, which stay still much of the time.
  • Used in a sentence: Lucy’s cat is very active, chasing shadows and playing with its toys.

Active can also describe something as being in motion or doing things. The word inactive is the opposite of this sense, describing something as sitting around, sleeping, or not functioning.

  • Real-life examples: Nocturnal animals are active at night and asleep during the day. If a burglar alarm is active, it has been turned on and is ready to trigger if it detects a person. If a mine or bomb is active, it is operating properly and will explode if something triggers it.
  • Used in a sentence: Luckily, the fire alarm was active and quickly detected the fire.

In grammar, the word active refers to the active voice. This term refers to a sentence in which the subject performs the action of the verb. The other English voice is called passive voice, where the subject of the sentence has the action performed on it.

  • Active voice: I ran. She drove to the bank. He punched me. 
  • Passive voice: The ball was thrown through the window. The building was torn down. I was given an A on the test.

Where does active come from?

The first records of active come from around 1300. It comes from the Latin āctīvus and is an adjective formed from act, meaning “something that is done” or “to do something.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to active?

What are some synonyms for active?

What are some words that share a root or word element with active?

What are some words that often get used in discussing active?

How is active used in real life?

Active is a common word used to describe something as involving a lot of energy or as doing things.

Try using active!

True or False?

A pet that does nothing but sleep and lay around all day leads a very active life.

Word of the Day


[ak-suh-lot-l ]

Meaning and examples

Start each day with the Word of the Day in your inbox!

By clicking "Sign Up", you are accepting Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies.




activatoractive centre