Nearby words

  1. liveware,
  2. liveyer,
  3. livia drusilla,
  4. livid,
  5. lividly,
  6. living bandage,
  7. living bank,
  8. living daylights,
  9. living death,
  10. living end, the

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 forms

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.



verb (used without object), lived [livd] /lɪvd/, liv·ing.

to have life, as an organism; be alive; be capable of vital functions: all things that live.
to continue to have life; remain alive: to live to a ripe old age.
to continue in existence, operation, memory, etc.; last: a book that lives in my memory.
to maintain or support one's existence; provide for oneself: to live on one's income.
to feed or subsist (usually followed by on or upon): to live on rice and bananas.
to dwell or reside (usually followed by in, at, etc.): to live in a cottage.
to pass life in a specified manner: They lived happily ever after.
to direct or regulate one's life: to live by the golden rule.
to experience or enjoy to the full: At 40 she was just beginning to live.
to cohabit (usually followed by with).
to escape destruction or remain afloat, as a ship or aircraft.

verb (used with object), lived [livd] /lɪvd/, liv·ing.

to pass (life): to live a life of ease.
to practice, represent, or exhibit in one's life: to live one's philosophy.

Verb Phrases

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.
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.
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.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for living

British Dictionary definitions for living



  1. possessing life; not dead
  2. (as collective noun preceded by the)the living
having the characteristics of life (used esp to distinguish organisms from nonliving matter)
currently in use or validliving language
seeming to be reala living image
(of animals or plants) existing in the present age; extantCompare extinct (def. 1)
geology another word for live 2 (def. 15)
presented by actors before a live audienceliving theatre
(prenominal) (intensifier)the living daylights


the condition of being alive
the manner in which one conducts one's lifefast living
the means, esp the financial means, whereby one lives
Church of England another term for benefice
(modifier) of, involving, or characteristic of everyday lifeliving area
(modifier) of or involving those now alive (esp in the phrase living memory)



verb (mainly intr)

to show the characteristics of life; be alive
to remain alive or in existence
to exist in a specified wayto live poorly
(usually foll by in or at) to reside or dwellto live in London
(often foll by on) to continue or lastthe pain still lives in her memory
(usually foll by by) to order one's life (according to a certain philosophy, religion, etc)
(foll by on, upon, or by) to support one's style of life; subsistto live by writing
(foll by with) to endure the effects (of a crime, mistake, etc)
(foll by through) to experience and survivehe lived through the war
(tr) to pass or spend (one's life, etc)
to enjoy life to the fullhe knows how to live
(tr) to put into practice in one's daily life; expresshe lives religion every day
live and let live to refrain from interfering in others' lives; to be tolerant
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




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


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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for living




Having life; alive.
Capable of replicating in a host's cells.
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.