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See more synonyms for liver on Thesaurus.com
  1. Anatomy. a large, reddish-brown, glandular organ located in the upper right side of the abdominal cavity, divided by fissures into five lobes and functioning in the secretion of bile and various metabolic processes.
  2. an organ in other animals similar to the human liver, often used as food.
  3. a diseased condition of the liver; biliousness: a touch of liver.
  4. a reddish-brown color.
  5. a rubberlike, irreversible thickening suspension occurring in paint, ink, etc., due to a chemical reaction between a colloidal pigment and a vehicle or as a result of polymerization of the vehicle.
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  1. of the color of liver.
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verb (used without object)
  1. (of paint, ink, etc.) to undergo irreversible thickening.
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Origin of liver1

before 900; Middle English; Old English lifer, cognate with Dutch lever, German Leber, Old Norse lifr; perhaps akin to Greek liparós fat
Related formsliv·er·less, adjective


  1. a person who lives in a manner specified: an extravagant liver.
  2. a dweller or resident; inhabitant.
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Origin of liver2

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at live1, -er1


  1. comparative of live2.
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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.
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  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.
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  1. live one, Slang.
    1. a person who spends money readily.
    2. a person easily imposed upon or made the dupe of others.
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Origin of live2

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

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British Dictionary definitions for liver


  1. a multilobed highly vascular reddish-brown glandular organ occupying most of the upper right part of the human abdominal cavity immediately below the diaphragm. It secretes bile, stores glycogen, detoxifies certain poisons, and plays an important part in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat, helping to maintain a correct balance of nutrientsRelated adjective: hepatic
  2. the corresponding organ in animals
  3. the liver of certain animals used as food
  4. a reddish-brown colour, sometimes with a greyish tinge
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Derived Formsliverless, adjective

Word Origin

Old English lifer; related to Old High German lebrav, Old Norse lefr, Greek liparos fat


  1. a person who lives in a specified waya fast liver
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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
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Word Origin

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
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  1. during, at, or in the form of a live performancethe show went out live
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Word Origin

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 liver


secreting organ of the body, Old English lifer, from Proto-Germanic *librn (cf. Old Norse lifr, Old Frisian livere, Middle Dutch levere, Dutch lever, Old High German lebara, German Leber "liver"), perhaps from PIE *leip- "to stick adhere; fat." Formerly believed to be the body's blood-producing organ; in medieval times it rivaled the heart as the supposed seat of love and passion, hence lily-livered. Liver-spots, once thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the organ, is attested from 1730.

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late 14c., agent noun from live (v.).

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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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

liver in Medicine


  1. The largest gland of the body, lying beneath the diaphragm in the upper right portion of the abdominal cavity, which secretes bile and is active in the formation of certain blood proteins and in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
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  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.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

liver in Science


  1. A large glandular organ in the abdomen of vertebrate animals that is essential to many metabolic processes. The liver secretes bile, stores fat and sugar as reserve energy sources, converts harmful substances to less toxic forms, and regulates the amount of blood in the body.
  2. A similar organ of invertebrate animals.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

liver in Culture


A large organ, located on the right side of the abdomen and protected by the lower rib cage, that produces bile and blood proteins, stores vitamins for later release into the bloodstream, removes toxins (including alcohol) from the blood, breaks down old red blood cells, and helps maintain levels of blood sugar in the body.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with liver


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.