General English

General Science

  • noun the time from birth to death
  • noun a state of active metabolism 3. the state or experience of being alive.
  • noun living organisms


  • The ability to erect barriers and organise within them material and information in a way which the laws of thermodynamics would otherwise prevent. Definitions of life are chronically complex and controversial, and are biassed hopelessly by the fact that we base them solely on our experience of life on Earth.


  • noun the period of time for which something or someone exists


  • That period of time after which a machine or facility can no longer be repaired in order to perform its design function properly.


  • noun a ‘lively’ quality in the wicket that makes it particularly helpful to the faster bowlers, providing conditions conducive to pace off the pitch, good bounce, and movement off the seam
    Citation ‘Lloyd, back after missing Port-of-Spain because of a hamstring injury, expected early life from a well-grassed pitch’ (WCM May 1984)
    Citation ‘There had been overnight rain and, on uncovered wickets, Verity and Robins were soon extracting life’ (Bose 1990)
  • noun a fortuitous extension to a batsman’s innings due to failure by the fielding side to dismiss him when an easy chance was offered
    Citation ‘On the first day Wessels had played extremely well after his early “life”’ (Henry Blofeld, Cricketer February 1984)


  • The time interval during which something exists or functions in a given manner. For instance, the operating life, useful life, or shelf life of a device, or the time that elapses between the creation of an electron hole pair, and its recombination.


  • noun the time when a person is alive

Media Studies

  • noun an account of somebody’s life, usually in writing


  • noun the quality that makes a person or thing alive and not dead or inorganic

Origin & History of “life”

Prehistoric Germanic *līb- denoted ‘remain, be left’. from this was formed the noun *lībam, which in due course produced English life (the semantic connection between ‘remaining’ and life – and the closely related live – is thought to lie in the notion of being ‘left alive after a battle’). Of the noun’s Germanic relatives, Swedish and Danish liv still mean ‘life’, but German leib and Dutch liff have moved on semantically to ‘body’.

English alive is a derivative of life, not of the verb live.