Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Living or lasting only a short time; ephemeral.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having a short life or existence; not living or lasting long; of short continuance: as, a short-lived race of beings; short-lived passion.

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

  • adjective Not living or lasting long; being of short continuance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Alive or existent for only a short period of time.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective lasting a very short time

Etymologies

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

[short + (long)-lived.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From short + life + -ed.

Examples

  • The coalition's focus on so-called short-lived pollutants won't replace efforts to slash carbon emissions, for which "the world has not yet done enough," Ms. Clinton said.

    U.S. Joins Effort to Fight Climate Change

  • The good news is that tackling black carbon, and other so-called "short-lived climate forcers" such as methane, could be a quick win in terms of tackling climate change.

    Wood fires fuel climate change – UN

  • A double-dip recession refers to a short-lived recovery from one recession and then a new plunge back into economic contraction.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Bisecting Budapest and Belgrade Streets, a wide boulevard lined by bedraggled trees commemorates Béla Kun, the Hungarian revolutionary who in 1919 founded the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic and was later executed by Stalin for his pains.

    The Return

  • The intense separatist nationalism of the early 1990s was a relatively short-lived phenomenon, cooked up by local politicians from convenient myths and misremembered history.

    The Return

  • Even if you set aside the short-lived but massive price bubble back in 1980 — around the time of a similar bubble in gold and many other commodities — the results have still been abysmal.

    Diamonds Aren't an Investor's Best Friend

  • Claire was content just driving with her husband and daughter together in their separate thoughts, but the silence was short-lived, because Alice began to sing Woody Guthrie songs.

    So Much Pretty

  • She obtained an education in computer security on the fly and left Excite to run security for a short-lived start-up.

    In the Plex

  • But his satisfaction was short-lived when he glanced at his watch.

    Gideon’s war

  • No amount of soapy lather could squeeze those thighs into that molded rubber seat, and my carefree days of certain cleanliness were short-lived.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms

Comments

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  • If something has a short life, it is short-lived, with a long I.

    February 6, 2007

  • I'm not completely sure about this. Life is not a verb, which means you can't conjugate it like a verb. To live, a verb, is conjugated as lived. Live, as in live music, is an adjective, which again, means it cannot be conjugated as a verb. Short-lived means it only lived for a short period of time, which makes complete sense.

    February 7, 2007

  • I vote for short-lifed for the use chained_bear is referencing. Or perhaps the more common with a short life expectancy, but that's not nearly as much fun.

    February 7, 2007

  • I respect that opinion, but humbly disagree. If a thing has a long life, that's not the same as saying it lived a long time--the difference in tense is subtle but present. It is long-lifed, only no one says "long-lifed" because it's linguistically awkward and doesn't "feel" right. Changing the F to a V is done for many other words, such as knife/knives, wife/wives, and while it's true there don't seem to be any situations similar enough to this one to justify changing the F to a V, it's common enough for words that sound the same (wife, knife), that to the ear, at least, it sounds right to say "long-lived" (or short-lived as the case may be) with a long "I."

    If you knife someone, he or she was knifed, it's true. But in the past it was acceptable to say knived. Similarly, to take a wife used to be pronounced (or at least was permissibly pronounced) "wived." So while there are no extant living-language examples of using a long-I--with the real issue being whether to change the F to a V (IMHO)--it's not outside the realm of possibility that "short-lived" should have a long I.

    Also, "short-lived" and "long-lived" are adjectives, just like "live" as in live music.

    Also, OED says it's pronounced with a long-I sound. I can't paste the thing here because it has lots of weird characters that don't come through, but it does offer this note in brackets:

    LONG a. + live, LIFE n. + -ED2. Often pronounced (with a short-I sound), as if etymologically parallel to smooth-spoken, etc.

    I will probably always find "short-lived" with a short "I" to be grating on the ol' ears. Of course you're free to disagree, which you did. But... it's my bitchfest. :)

    February 9, 2007

  • The comparison to knife/knives, wife/wives applies only to nouns. You mention knived and wived, verbs, which are both archaic, so that comparison doesn't seem useful either. Furthermore, both knife and wife start with long I's, so the comparisons don't really work as comparisons.

    I guess, overall, it comes down to whether you seek to use the word the way you heard it, or whether you want to use logic to come up with a different solution than is commonly accepted. Neither approach is more valid, since linguistically speaking, logic doesn't play much of a role.

    February 9, 2007

  • Well, "commonly accepted" doesn't necessarily mean correct. Whatever examples I used in my lamely-written explanation, the OED lists only one pronunciation for "short-lived" and "long-lived" (the long-I sound). And you could argue, of course, that not everyone pronounces everything the way it is in the OED--language being an ever-changing thing.

    I don't get the problem that knife and wife start with long I's. So does "life." I'm saying that "long-lived" comes from "long life," and you're suggesting that it comes from "lived long."

    You're right that I could be seeking simply to justify the way *I* choose to pronounce this word. But here it is, where it belongs, on a list of irksome pronunciations. Happy listing!

    February 9, 2007

  • These little arguments are my favorite part about Wordie, so we'll call this one a draw and move on to the next one.

    February 9, 2007

  • The fallacy of dictionary panels contending that common usage magically transforms an error in grammar or pronunciation into proper form is that they are helping empower, or at least endorsing, those who are ignorant of the rules of grammar or of pronunciation to set the standard, which is to say lower the bar, for the rest of us. To aver that the prevalent mispronunciation of "short-lived" with a short "i" instead of the correct long "i" is not in error puts the people who adjudge such matters in error.

    Everybody today seems to mistake the phrase "hone in on" for the correct "home in on." Do these tone-deaf dictionary panelists suggest that the definition of hone should be adapted to fit the malapropisms that permeate the speech patterns of "common users"? The alarming attitude of dictionary panelists who think that way implies they are comfortable with subliterate influences defining literacy down, to paraphrase a famous coinage by very erudite late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

    Witness the corrupted phrase, "while away the hours." Does that even make sense? No, because the original phrase is "wile away the hours," a logical statement meaning to make time seemingly go by faster we fool time using our wiles. There is a singular, even mystical, beauty to language used with precision that, ironically (another word constantly misused to mean coincidental), those who administer dictionaries are helping to uglify.

    July 6, 2009

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    July 30, 2011