adjective, liv·er, liv·est for 4–7, 13–15.
  1. being alive; living; alive: live animals.
  2. of, relating to, or during the life of a living being: the animal's live weight.
  3. characterized by or indicating the presence of living creatures: the live sounds of the forest.
  4. Informal. (of a person) energetic; alert; lively: The club members are a really live bunch.
  5. full of life, energy or activity: His approach in any business dealing is live and fresh.
  6. burning or glowing: live coals in the fireplace.
  7. having resilience or bounce: a live tennis ball.
  8. being in play, as a baseball or football.
  9. loaded or unexploded, as a cartridge or shell: live ammunition.
  10. made up of actual persons: to perform before a live audience.
  11. (of a radio or television program) broadcast while happening or being performed; not prerecorded or taped: a live telecast.
  12. being highly resonant or reverberant, as an auditorium or concert hall.
  13. vivid or bright, as color.
  14. of current interest or importance, as a question or issue; controversial; unsettled.
  15. moving or imparting motion; powered: the live head on a lathe.
  16. still in use, or to be used, as type set up or copy for printing.
  17. Also alive. Electricity. electrically connected to a source of potential difference, or electrically charged so as to have a potential different from that of earth: a live wire.
  1. (of a radio or television program) at the moment of its happening or being performed; not on tape or by prerecording: a program broadcast live.
  1. live one, Slang.
    1. a person who spends money readily.
    2. a person easily imposed upon or made the dupe of others.

Origin of live

1535–45; 1930–35 for def 11; aphetic variant of alive, used attributively
Related formslive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for liveness

Historical Examples of liveness

  • Such a play has an immediacy and liveness that strongly appeals to those who delight to image forth the past.

British Dictionary definitions for liveness


verb (mainly intr)
  1. to show the characteristics of life; be alive
  2. to remain alive or in existence
  3. to exist in a specified wayto live poorly
  4. (usually foll by in or at) to reside or dwellto live in London
  5. (often foll by on) to continue or lastthe pain still lives in her memory
  6. (usually foll by by) to order one's life (according to a certain philosophy, religion, etc)
  7. (foll by on, upon, or by) to support one's style of life; subsistto live by writing
  8. (foll by with) to endure the effects (of a crime, mistake, etc)
  9. (foll by through) to experience and survivehe lived through the war
  10. (tr) to pass or spend (one's life, etc)
  11. to enjoy life to the fullhe knows how to live
  12. (tr) to put into practice in one's daily life; expresshe lives religion every day
  13. live and let live to refrain from interfering in others' lives; to be tolerant
  14. where one lives US informal in one's sensitive or defenceless position

Word Origin for live

Old English libban, lifian; related to Old High German libēn, Old Norse lifa


  1. (prenominal) showing the characteristics of life
  2. (usually prenominal) of, relating to, or abounding in lifethe live weight of an animal
  3. (usually prenominal) of current interest; controversiala live issue
  4. actuala real live cowboy
  5. informal full of life and energy
  6. (of a coal, ember, etc) glowing or burning
  7. (esp of a volcano) not extinct
  8. loaded or capable of explodinga live bomb
  9. radio television transmitted or present at the time of performance, rather than being a recordinga live show
  10. (of a record)
    1. recorded in concert
    2. recorded in one studio take, without overdubs or splicing
  11. connected to a source of electric powera live circuit
  12. (esp of a colour or tone) brilliant or splendid
  13. acoustically reverberanta live studio
  14. sport (of a ball) in play
  15. (of rocks, ores, etc) not quarried or mined; native
  16. being in a state of motion or transmitting power; positively connected to a driving member
  17. printing
    1. (of copy) not yet having been set into type
    2. (of type that has been set) still in use
  1. during, at, or in the form of a live performancethe show went out live

Word Origin for live

C16: from on live alive
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

Word Origin and History for liveness



Old English lifian (Anglian), libban (West Saxon) "to be, to live, have life; to experience," also "to supply oneself with food, to pass life (in some condition)," from Proto-Germanic *liben (cf. Old Norse lifa "to live, remain," Old Frisian libba, German leben, Gothic liban "to live"), from PIE root *leip- "to remain, continue" (cf. Greek liparein "to persist, persevere;" see leave). Meaning "to make a residence, dwell" is from c.1200. Related: Lived; living.

According to the Dutch Prouerbe ... Leuen ende laetan leuen, To liue and to let others liue. [Malynes, 1622]

To live it up "live gaily and extravagantly" is from 1903. To live up to "act in accordance with" is 1690s, from earlier live up "live on a high (moral or mental) level" (1680s). To live (something) down "outwear (some slander or embarrassment)" is from 1842. To live with "cohabit as husband and wife" is attested from 1749; sense of "to put up with" is attested from 1937. Expression live and learn is attested from c.1620.



1540s, "having life," later (1610s) "burning, glowing," a shortening of alive (q.v.). Sense of "containing unspent energy or power" (live ammunition, etc.) is from 1799. Meaning "in-person" (of performance) is first attested 1934. Live wire is attested from 1890; figurative sense of "active person" is from 1903.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

liveness in Medicine


  1. Having life; alive.
  2. Capable of replicating in a host's cells.
  3. Containing living microorganisms or viruses capable of replicating in a host's cells.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with liveness


In addition to the idioms beginning with live

  • live and learn
  • live and let live
  • live by one's wits
  • live dangerously
  • live down
  • live for the moment
  • live from day to day
  • live from hand to mouth
  • live happily ever after
  • live high off the hog
  • live in
  • live in each other's pockets
  • live in sin
  • live it up
  • live like a king
  • live on
  • live on borrowed time
  • live on the edge
  • live out
  • live through
  • live together
  • live up to
  • live wire
  • live with

also see:

  • alive (live) and kicking
  • as I live and breathe
  • close to home (where one lives)
  • (live from) day to day
  • fat of the land, live off the
  • high off the hog, live
  • in one's pocket (live in each other's pockets)
  • learn to live with
  • people who live in glass houses
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.