Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.
  • n. The characteristic state or condition of a living organism.
  • n. Living organisms considered as a group: plant life; marine life.
  • n. A living being, especially a person: an earthquake that claimed hundreds of lives.
  • n. The physical, mental, and spiritual experiences that constitute existence: the artistic life of a writer.
  • n. The interval of time between birth and death: She led a good, long life.
  • n. The interval of time between one's birth and the present: has had hay fever all his life.
  • n. A particular segment of one's life: my adolescent life.
  • n. The period from an occurrence until death: elected for life; paralyzed for life.
  • n. Slang A sentence of imprisonment lasting till death.
  • n. The time for which something exists or functions: the useful life of a car.
  • n. A spiritual state regarded as a transcending of corporeal death.
  • n. An account of a person's life; a biography.
  • n. Human existence, relationships, or activity in general: real life; everyday life.
  • n. A manner of living: led a hard life.
  • n. A specific, characteristic manner of existence. Used of inanimate objects: "Great institutions seem to have a life of their own, independent of those who run them” ( New Republic).
  • n. The activities and interests of a particular area or realm: musical life in New York.
  • n. A source of vitality; an animating force: She's the life of the show.
  • n. Liveliness or vitality; animation: a face that is full of life.
  • n. Something that actually exists regarded as a subject for an artist: painted from life.
  • n. Actual environment or reality; nature.
  • adj. Of or relating to animate existence; involved in or necessary for living: life processes.
  • adj. Continuing for a lifetime; lifelong: life partner; life imprisonment.
  • adj. Using a living model as a subject for an artist: a life sculpture.
  • idiom as big as life Life-size.
  • idiom as big as life Actually present.
  • idiom bring to life To cause to regain consciousness.
  • idiom bring to life To put spirit into; to animate.
  • idiom bring to life To make lifelike.
  • idiom come to life To become animated; grow excited.
  • idiom for dear life Desperately or urgently: I ran for dear life when I saw the tiger.
  • idiom for life Till the end of one's life.
  • idiom for the life of (one) Though trying hard: For the life of me I couldn't remember his name.
  • idiom not on your life Informal Absolutely not; not for any reason whatsoever.
  • idiom take (one's) life To commit suicide.
  • idiom take (one's) life in (one's) hands To take a dangerous risk.
  • idiom take (someone's) life To commit murder.
  • idiom the good life A wealthy, luxurious way of living.
  • idiom the life of Riley Informal An easy life.
  • idiom the life of the party Informal An animated, amusing person who is the center of attention at a social gathering.
  • idiom to save (one's) life No matter how hard one tries: He can't ski to save his life.
  • idiom true to life Conforming to reality.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state that follows birth, and precedes death; the state of being alive and living.
  • n. The period during which one (a person, an animal, a plant, a star) is alive.
  • n. The span of time during which an object operates.
  • n. The period of time during which an object is recognizable.
  • n. A status given to any entity including animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc. — and sometimes viruses — having the properties of replication and metabolism.
  • n. The essence of the manifestation and the foundation of the being.
  • n. the subjective and inner manifestation of the individual.
  • n. The world in general; existence.
  • n. A worthwhile existence.
  • n. The most worthwhile component or participant
  • n. A biography.
  • n. Something which is inherently part of a person's existence, such as job, family, a loved one, etc.
  • n. A life sentence; a term of imprisonment of a convict until his or her death.
  • n. social life
  • n. One of the player's chances to play, lost when a mistake is made.

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English līf.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English lif, lyf, from Old English līf ("life, existence; life-time"), from Proto-Germanic *līban (“life, body”), from Proto-Germanic *lībanan (“to remain, stay, be left”), from Proto-Indo-European *leyp-, *lip- (“to stick, glue”). Cognate with Scots life, leif ("life"), North Frisian liff ("life, limb, person, livelihood"), West Frisian liif ("belly, abdomen"), Dutch lijf ("body"), Low German lif ("body; life, life-force; waist"), German Leib ("body"), Swedish liv ("life; waist"), Icelandic líf ("life"). Related to belive. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • As 'nightmare' scenario unfolds in one plant, auto union fights for 'American way of life' yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = 'As \'nightmare\' scenario unfolds in one plant, auto union fights for \'American way of life\ ''; yahooBuzzArticleSummary = 'Article: As bargaining for a new contract begins, GM, Ford and Chrysler will push autoworkers for wage and benefit concessions.

    As 'nightmare' scenario unfolds in one plant, auto union fights for 'American way of life'

  • This is your life flashing before your eyes, this is your ~life~ passing you by.

    wendchymes Diary Entry

  • This literature tends to show subjects 'self-ratings of well-being or happiness are based partly on pleasure, partly on the absence of negative affect, and partly on their views of how well they are achieving the ends they regard as important in life (their ˜life satisfaction™).

    Pleasure

  • If what I have found so far and my search has not ended yet, nor will it ever likely is accurate- that life begins at fertilization both by the independent definition of “life” and a scientific understanding of the life cycle- then abortion must end.

    An unavoidable conclusion - BatesLine

  • He also credits Aristotle with saying: “Teachers who educated children deserved more honour than parents who merely gave them birth; for bare life is furnished by the one, the other ensures a good life” (p. 463).

    Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

  • _After the death_, &c. 172, l. 3. _or_ else it _should cost life for life_; and that in a short time they should be like hogs kept for slaughter, by this vitious

    The Works of John Knox, Vol. 1 (of 6)

  • By nature it is implanted in man that he should live in civil society, for since he cannot attain in solitude the necessary means of civilized life, it is a Divine provision that he comes into existence adapted for taking part in the union and assembling of men, both in the Family and in the State, which alone can supply adequate facilities for _the perfecting of life_.

    Donahoe's Magazine, Volume 15, No. 1, January 1886

  • _The girl must prepare for life work in the home, or life work outside the home, or a period of either followed by the other, or perhaps a combination of both during some part or even all of her mature life_.

    Vocational Guidance for Girls

  • Now those who regard literature as an important thing, playing a significant part in the life of a nation, must, as I have already indicated, seek in it something more positive than a _distraction_ from life; for them it must be an _addition to life_.

    Personality in Literature

  • Now, relying on these discoveries, as well as upon the successful demonstration, by inorganic means, of organic acids in chemistry, and starting from the supposition that the first appearance of life must necessarily be explained by those agencies which are already active in the inorganic nature, many scientists have attempted the so-called _mechanical explanation of life_.

    The Theories of Darwin and Their Relation to Philosophy, Religion, and Morality

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