- engaged in action; characterized by energetic work, participation, etc.; busy: an active life.
- being in a state of existence, progress, or motion: active hostilities.
- involving physical effort and action: active sports.
- having the power of quick motion; nimble: active as a gazelle.
- characterized by action, motion, volume, use, participation, etc.: an active market in wheat; an active list of subscribers.
- causing activity or change; capable of exerting influence (opposed to passive): active treason.
- effective (opposed to inert): active ingredients.
- 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 (opposed to passive): Writes in He writes a letter every day is an active verb form.
- requiring or giving rise to action; practical: an active course.
- (of a volcano) in eruption.
- Accounting. profitable; busy: active accounts.
- requiring personal effort or attention; not automatic: an active alarm system.
- interest-bearing: active paper.
- Medicine/Medical. acting quickly; producing immediate effects: active remedies.
- Sociology. (of a crowd) engaging in purposeful activity, often of a militant nature.Compare expressive(def 4).
- Aerospace. able to transmit signals: an active communications satellite.
- 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.
- (of a solar heating system) accumulating and distributing solar heat by mechanical means.
- Military. serving on active duty.
- the active voice.
- a form or construction in the active voice.
- an active person, member, subscriber, etc.: The circular was mailed only to the actives on our list.
- Informal. something showing considerable action or activity: On the stock market there was heavy trading in the actives.
Origin of active
SynonymsSee more synonyms for active on Thesaurus.com
- in a state of action; moving, working, or doing something
- busy or involvedan active life
- physically energetic
- exerting influence; effectivean active ingredient
- being fully engaged in military service (esp in the phrase on active service)
- (of a volcano) erupting periodically; not extinctCompare dormant (def. 3), extinct (def. 3)
- astronomy (of the sun) exhibiting a large number of sunspots, solar flares, etc, and a marked variation in intensity and frequency of radio emissionCompare quiet (def. 8)
- producing or being used to produce profit, esp in the form of interestactive balances
- of or denoting stocks or shares that have been actively bought and sold as recorded in the Official List of the London Stock Exchange
- containing a source of poweran active network
- capable of amplifying a signal or controlling some functionan active component; an active communication satellite
- the active voice
- an active verb
- mainly US a member of an organization who participates in its activities
Word Origin and History for preactive
mid-14c., "given to worldly activity" (opposed to contemplative or monastic), from Old French actif (12c.) or directly from Latin activus, from actus (see act (n.)). As "capable of acting" (opposed to passive), from late 14c. Meaning "energetic, lively" is from 1590s; that of "working, effective, in operation" is from 1640s. Active voice is recorded from 1765 (grammatical use of active dates from mid-15c.).