from The Century Dictionary.

  • An abbreviation of God's life, used as an oath: an interjection of impatience.
  • noun In base-ball, an opportunity given to the batsman or base-runner, through an error of the opponents, of continuing without being put out; in sports in general, an unexpected or undeserved opportunity.
  • noun The principle of animate corporeal existence; the capacity of an animal or a plant for self-preservation and growth by the processes of assimilation and excretion, the permanent cessation of which constitutes death; that state of an animal or a plant in which its organs are in actual performance of their functions, or are capable of performing their functions, though the performance has not yet begun, or has begun but incompletely, or has been temporarily suspended; vitality.
  • noun Duration of the animate existence of an individual; the whole or any period of animate existence; the time between birth and death, or any part of it from a given point till death: as, life is but a span; to hold office for life.
  • noun The principle or state of conscious spiritual existence: as, the life of the soul.
  • noun Duration of existence or activity in general; term of continuance, usefulness, or efficiency; the time during which anything lasts, or has force or validity: as, the life of a machine; the life of a lease; the enterprise had a short life.
  • noun The state or condition of being alive; individual manifestation of existence: as, to save or lose one's life.
  • noun Embodied vitality; vital force in material forms; living beings in the aggregate: as, a high or a low type of life; the absence of life in the desert.
  • noun A corporeal existence; a living being; one who or that which has life; a person: now used only with reference to persons as lost or saved, but formerly of a person generally: as, many lives were lost.
  • noun Source or means of living; that which makes or keeps alive; vivifying principle; an essential vital element, as food or the blood.
  • noun A vital part of the body; a life-spot or vulnerable point.
  • noun Condition, quality, manner, or course of living; career: as, high or low, married or single life; to lead a gay life; to amend one's life; the daily life of a community.
  • noun In theology, that kind of spiritual existence which belongs to God, is manifested in Christ, and is imparted through faith to the believer; hence, a course of existence devoted to the service of God, possessed of the felicity of his fellowship, and to be consummated after death.
  • noun An account of a person's career and actions; a personal history; a biography: as, Plutarch's Lives; Johnson's Lives of the Poets.
  • noun Vivid show of animate existence; animation; spirit; vivacity; energy in action, thought, or expression: as, to put life into one's work.
  • noun An animating force or influence; anything that quickens or enlivens; a source of vital energy, happiness, or enjoyment; hence, that which is dear as life (in this sense often used as an epithet of endearment): as, he was the life of the company; his books were his life.
  • noun The living form and expression; hence, reality in appearance or representation; living semblance; actual likeness: as, to draw from the life; he looks the character to the life.
  • noun An insurance on a person's life; a life-insurance policy.
  • noun So as to save, or as if to save, one's life: as, to run for life; to swim for life.
  • noun That life which belongs properly to the most vital organs, as the heart, brain, or lungs: distinguished from the more vegetative life of the organs of nutrition, for example, whose functions may be temporarily suspended without causing death.
  • noun Synonyms Animation, Life, Liveliness, etc. See animation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The state of being which begins with generation, birth, or germination, and ends with death; also, the time during which this state continues; that state of an animal or plant in which all or any of its organs are capable of performing all or any of their functions; -- used of all animal and vegetable organisms.
  • noun Of human beings: The union of the soul and body; also, the duration of their union; sometimes, the deathless quality or existence of the soul.
  • noun (Philos) The potential principle, or force, by which the organs of animals and plants are started and continued in the performance of their several and coöperative functions; the vital force, whether regarded as physical or spiritual.
  • noun Figuratively: The potential or animating principle, also, the period of duration, of anything that is conceived of as resembling a natural organism in structure or functions
  • noun A certain way or manner of living with respect to conditions, circumstances, character, conduct, occupation, etc.; hence, human affairs; also, lives, considered collectively, as a distinct class or type
  • noun Animation; spirit; vivacity; vigor; energy.
  • noun That which imparts or excites spirit or vigor; that upon which enjoyment or success depends.
  • noun The living or actual form, person, thing, or state.
  • noun A person; a living being, usually a human being.
  • noun The system of animal nature; animals in general, or considered collectively.
  • noun An essential constituent of life, esp: the blood.
  • noun A history of the acts and events of a life; a biography.
  • noun Enjoyment in the right use of the powers; especially, a spiritual existence; happiness in the favor of God; heavenly felicity.
  • noun Something dear to one as one's existence; a darling; -- used as a term of endearment.
  • noun an annuity payable during one's life.
  • noun an arrow, rocket, or shot, for carrying an attached line to a vessel in distress in order to save life.
  • noun See Life insurance, below.
  • noun See Buoy.
  • noun a water-tight boat or box, traveling on a line from a wrecked vessel to the shore. In it person are hauled through the waves and surf.
  • noun a drop of vital blood.
  • noun (Law) an estate which is held during the term of some certain person's life, but does not pass by inheritance.
  • noun (Bot.) a plant with white or yellow persistent scales about the heads of the flowers, as Antennaria, and Gnaphalium; cudweed.
  • noun (Law) the period when an execution is in force, or before it expires.
  • noun (Mil.) See under Guard.
  • noun the act or system of insuring against death; a contract by which the insurer undertakes, in consideration of the payment of a premium (usually at stated periods), to pay a stipulated sum in the event of the death of the insured or of a third person in whose life the insured has an interest.
  • noun an estate or interest which lasts during one's life, or the life of another person, but does not pass by inheritance.
  • noun (Law) land held by lease for the term of a life or lives.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • What happens is not what life is all about.

    What you do in reaction to what happens is what life is all about.

    January 3, 2010

  • Diogenes was asked,

    "What is the difference between life and death?

    "No difference."

    "Well then, why do you remain in this life?"

    "Because there is no difference."

    January 3, 2010

  • The definition attributed to Wiktionary is incorrect.

    March 13, 2019