See more synonyms for living on
  1. having life; being alive; not dead: living persons.
  2. in actual existence or use; extant: living languages.
  3. active or thriving; vigorous; strong: a living faith.
  4. burning or glowing, as a coal.
  5. flowing freely, as water.
  6. pertaining to, suitable for, or sufficient for existence or subsistence: living conditions; a living wage.
  7. of or relating to living persons: within living memory.
  8. lifelike; true to life, as a picture or narrative.
  9. in its natural state and place; not uprooted, changed, etc.: living rock.
  10. Informal. very; absolute (used as an intensifier): You scared the living daylights out of me! He's making her life a living hell.
  1. the act or condition of a person or thing that lives: Living is very expensive these days.
  2. the means of maintaining life; livelihood: to earn one's living.
  3. a particular manner, state, or status of life: luxurious living.
  4. (used with a plural verb) living persons collectively (usually preceded by the): glad to be among the living.
  5. British. the benefice of a clergyman.

Origin of living

before 900; (adj.) Middle English lyvyng(e); replacing earlier liviende, Old English lifgende (see live1, -ing2); (noun) Middle English living(e) (see -ing1)
Related formsliv·ing·ly, adverbliv·ing·ness, nounnon·liv·ing, adjective, nounqua·si-liv·ing, adjectiveun·liv·ing, adjective

Synonyms for living

See more synonyms for on
1. live, quick. 2. existing, surviving. 3. lively, flourishing. 12. sustenance, subsistence.

Synonym study

12. Living, livelihood, maintenance, support refer, directly or indirectly, to what is earned or spent for subsistence. Living and livelihood (a somewhat more formal word), both refer to what one earns to keep (oneself) alive, but are seldom interchangeable within the same phrase: to earn one's living; to seek one's livelihood. “To make a living” suggests making just enough to keep alive, and is particularly frequent in the negative: You cannot make a living out of that. “To make a livelihood out of something” suggests rather making a business of it: to make a livelihood out of trapping foxes. Maintenance and support refer usually to what is spent for the living of another: to provide for the maintenance or support of someone. Maintenance occasionally refers to the allowance itself provided for livelihood: They are entitled to a maintenance from this estate.

Antonyms for living

1. dead.


verb (used without object), lived [livd] /lɪvd/, liv·ing.
  1. to have life, as an organism; be alive; be capable of vital functions: all things that live.
  2. to continue to have life; remain alive: to live to a ripe old age.
  3. to continue in existence, operation, memory, etc.; last: a book that lives in my memory.
  4. to maintain or support one's existence; provide for oneself: to live on one's income.
  5. to feed or subsist (usually followed by on or upon): to live on rice and bananas.
  6. to dwell or reside (usually followed by in, at, etc.): to live in a cottage.
  7. to pass life in a specified manner: They lived happily ever after.
  8. to direct or regulate one's life: to live by the golden rule.
  9. to experience or enjoy to the full: At 40 she was just beginning to live.
  10. to cohabit (usually followed by with).
  11. to escape destruction or remain afloat, as a ship or aircraft.
verb (used with object), lived [livd] /lɪvd/, liv·ing.
  1. to pass (life): to live a life of ease.
  2. to practice, represent, or exhibit in one's life: to live one's philosophy.
Verb Phrases
  1. live down, to live so as to allow (a mistake, disgrace, etc.) to be forgotten or forgiven: She'll never live that crucial moment of failure down.
  2. live in/out, to reside at or away from the place of one's employment, especially as a domestic servant: Their butler lives in, but the maids live out.
  3. live up to, to live in accordance with (expectations or an ideal or standard); measure up to: He never lived up to his father's vision of him.
  1. live high off/on the hog. hog(def 16).
  2. live it up, Informal. to live in an extravagant or wild manner; pursue pleasure: He started living it up after he got out of the army.
  3. live well, to live comfortably: They're not wealthy but they live well.

Origin of live

before 900; Middle English liven, Old English lifian, libban; cognate with Dutch leven, German leben, Old Norse lifa, Gothic liban Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for living

Contemporary Examples of living

Historical Examples of living

  • Some one said the other day, "Ennui is a disease that comes from living on other people's money."

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • So people say; but he doesn't show it in his dress or way of living.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • She won't think much of a boy that has to pick berries for a living.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • It seems to me that life is no life, but living death, without that freedom!

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • "There is not one chance in ten that he is living," he said.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

British Dictionary definitions for living


    1. possessing life; not dead
    2. (as collective noun preceded by the)the living
  1. having the characteristics of life (used esp to distinguish organisms from nonliving matter)
  2. currently in use or validliving language
  3. seeming to be reala living image
  4. (of animals or plants) existing in the present age; extantCompare extinct (def. 1)
  5. geology another word for live 2 (def. 15)
  6. presented by actors before a live audienceliving theatre
  7. (prenominal) (intensifier)the living daylights
  1. the condition of being alive
  2. the manner in which one conducts one's lifefast living
  3. the means, esp the financial means, whereby one lives
  4. Church of England another term for benefice
  5. (modifier) of, involving, or characteristic of everyday lifeliving area
  6. (modifier) of or involving those now alive (esp in the phrase living memory)


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 living

"alive," also "residing, staying," c.1200, from present participle of live (v.)).


"living persons," late Old English; early 14c. as "the fact of dwelling in some place," from Old English lifiende "that lives or has life," present participle of lifan (see live (v.)). The meaning "action, process, or method of gaining one's livelihood" is attested from c.1400.



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

living 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 living


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.