What does Life mean?

Definitions for Life

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Life.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. lifenoun

    a characteristic state or mode of living

    "social life"; "city life"; "real life"

  2. life, livingnoun

    the experience of being alive; the course of human events and activities

    "he could no longer cope with the complexities of life"

  3. lifenoun

    the course of existence of an individual; the actions and events that occur in living

    "he hoped for a new life in Australia"; "he wanted to live his own life without interference from others"

  4. animation, life, living, alivenessnoun

    the condition of living or the state of being alive

    "while there's life there's hope"; "life depends on many chemical and physical processes"

  5. life, lifetime, life-time, lifespannoun

    the period during which something is functional (as between birth and death)

    "the battery had a short life"; "he lived a long and happy life"

  6. lifenoun

    the period between birth and the present time

    "I have known him all his life"

  7. lifenoun

    the period from the present until death

    "he appointed himself emperor for life"

  8. lifenoun

    a living person

    "his heroism saved a life"

  9. liveliness, life, spirit, sprightlinessnoun

    animation and energy in action or expression

    "it was a heavy play and the actors tried in vain to give life to it"

  10. lifenoun

    living things collectively

    "the oceans are teeming with life"

  11. lifenoun

    the organic phenomenon that distinguishes living organisms from nonliving ones

    "there is no life on the moon"

  12. biography, life, life story, life historynoun

    an account of the series of events making up a person's life

  13. lifenoun

    a motive for living

    "pottery was his life"

  14. life sentence, lifenoun

    a prison term lasting as long as the prisoner lives

    "he got life for killing the guard"


  1. lifenoun

    The state that follows birth, and precedes death; the state of being alive and living.

  2. lifenoun

    The period during which one (a person, an animal, a plant, a star) is alive.

  3. lifenoun

    The span of time during which an object operates.

    This light bulb is designed to have a life of 2,000 hours.

  4. lifenoun

    The period of time during which an object is recognizable.

    The life of this milk carton may be thousands of years in this landfill.

  5. lifenoun

    A status given to any entity including animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc. and sometimes viruses having the properties of replication and metabolism.

  6. lifenoun

    The essence of the manifestation and the foundation of the being.

  7. lifenoun

    the subjective and inner manifestation of the individual.

  8. lifenoun

    The world in general; existence.

    Man's life on this planet has been marked by continual conflict.

  9. lifenoun

    A worthwhile existence.

    He gets up early in the morning, works all day long even on weekends and hardly sees his family. That's no life!

  10. lifenoun

    The most worthwhile component or participant

  11. lifenoun

    A biography.

    His life of the founder is finished, except for the title.

  12. lifenoun

    Something which is inherently part of a person's existence, such as job, family, a loved one, etc.

    She's my love, my life.

  13. lifenoun

    A life sentence; a term of imprisonment of a convict until his or her death.

  14. lifenoun

    One of the player's chances to play, lost when a mistake is made.

    Scoring 1000 points is rewarded with an extra life.

  15. Lifenoun


  16. Etymology: From lif, lyf, from lif, from līban, from lībanan, from leyp-. Cognate with life, leif, liff, liif, Dutch lijf, lif, German Leib, Swedish liv, líf. Related to belive.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Lifenoun

    plural lives.

    Etymology: lifian , to live, Saxon.

    On thy life no more.
    —— My life I never held but as a pawn
    To wage against thy foes; nor fear to lose it,
    Thy safety being the motive. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    She shews a body rather than a life,
    A statue than a breather. William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleopatra.

    Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life. Gen. i. 20.

    The identity of the same man consists in nothing but a participation of the same continued life, by constantly fleeting particles of matter, in succession vitally united to the same organized body. John Locke.

    So peaceful shalt thou end thy blissful days,
    And steal thyself from life by slow decays. Alexander Pope.

    O life, thou nothing’s younger brother!
    So like, that we may take the one for t’other!
    Dream of a shadow! a reflection made
    From the false glories of the gay reflected bow,
    Is more a solid thing than thou!
    Thou weak built isthmus, that do’st proudly rise
    Up betwixt two eternities;
    Yet canst not wave nor wind sustain,
    But, broken and o’erwhelm’d, the ocean meets again. Abraham Cowley.

    When I consider life ’tis all a cheat,
    Yet fool’d by hope men favour the deceit,
    Live on, and think to-morrow will repay;
    To-morrow’s falser than the former day;
    Lies more; and when it says we shall be blest
    With some new joy, takes off what we possest.
    Strange cozenage! none would live past years again,
    Yet all hope pleasure in what yet remain;
    And from the dregs of life think to receive
    What the first sprightly running could not give:
    I’m tir’d of waiting for this chemick gold,
    Which fools us young, and beggars us when old. Dryden.

    Howe’er ’tis well that while mankind
    Through life ’s perverse meanders errs,
    He can imagin’d pleasures find,
    To combat against real cares. Matthew Prior.

    Then avarice ’gan through his veins to inspire
    His greedy flames, and kindle life devouring fire. Fa. Qu.

    Their complot is to have my life:
    And, if my death might make this island happy,
    And prove the period of their tyranny,
    I would expend it with all willingness. William Shakespeare.

    Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv’st
    Live well, how long or short permit to heav’n. John Milton.

    Untam’d and fierce the tyger still remains,
    And tires his life with biting on his chains. Matthew Prior.

    He entreated me not to take his life, but exact a sum of money. Notes on the Odyssey.

    His gushing entrails smoak’d upon the ground,
    And the warm life came issuing through the wound. Alexander Pope.

    Henry and Edward, brightest sons of fame,
    And virtuous Alfred, a more sacred name;
    After a life of glorious toils endur’d,
    Clos’d their long glories with a sigh. Alexander Pope.

    I’ll teach my family to lead good lives. Jane Barker.

    Such was the life the frugal Sabines led;
    So Remus and his brother god were bred. John Dryden, Virg.

    And some have not any clear ideas of the greatest part of them all their lives. John Locke.

    The administration of this bank is for life, and partly in the hands of the chief citizens. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    Galen hath explained this point unto the life. Brown.

    That is the best part of beauty which a picture cannot express, no, nor the first sight of the life. Francis Bacon, Essays.

    Let him visit eminent persons of great name abroad, that he may tell how the life agreeth with the fame. Francis Bacon.

    He that would be a master, must draw by the life as well as copy from originals, and join theory and experience together. Jeremy Collier, of the Entertainment of Books.

    I believe no character of any person was ever better drawn to the life than this. John Denham.

    Rich carvings, portraiture, and imag’ry,
    Where ev’ry figure to the life express’d
    The Godhead’s pow’r. John Dryden, Knight’s Tale.

    He saw in order painted on the wall
    The wars that fame around the world had blown,
    All to the life, and ev’ry leader known. John Dryden, Æn.

    Studious they appear
    Of arts that polish life; inventors rare!
    Unmindful of their Maker. John Milton, Par. Lost.

    All that cheers or softens life,
    The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife. Alexander Pope.

    This I know, not only by reading of books in my study, but also by experience of life abroad in the world. Roger Ascham.

    Not to know at large of things remote
    From use, obscure and subtile; but to know
    That which before us lies in daily life,
    Is the prime wisdom. John Milton, Paradise Lost.

    Why should I play the Roman fool, and die
    On my own sword? whilst I see lives the gashes
    Do better upon them. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Plutarch, that writes his life,
    Tells us, that Cato dearly lov’d his wife. Alexander Pope.

    The Helots bent thitherward with a new life of resolution, as if their captain had been a root out of which their courage had sprung. Philip Sidney.

    They have no notion of life and fire in fancy and in words; and any thing that is just in grammar and in measure is as good oratory and poetry to them as the best. Henry Felton.

    Not with half the fire and life,
    With which he kiss’d Amphytrion’s wife. Matthew Prior.

    Full nature swarms with life. James Thomson.


  1. Life

    Life is a pop rock song written by Ana Johnsson, Jörgen Elofsson, Mathias Venge, and Pontus Wennerberg and recorded by the pop rock singer Ana Johnsson (as Ana). It was released as the second single in Swedish released from her (officially) first studio album Cuz I Can, which was only released in Sweden.


  1. life

    Life refers to the characteristic state or quality possessed by organisms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, that exhibit various processes such as growth, reproduction, metabolism, and responsiveness to stimuli. It typically involves the ability to adapt and evolve, as well as to maintain homeostasis and engage in interactions with the environment.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Lifenoun

    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

  2. Lifenoun

    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; as, man is a creature having an immortal life

  3. Lifenoun

    the potential principle, or force, by which the organs of animals and plants are started and continued in the performance of their several and cooperative functions; the vital force, whether regarded as physical or spiritual

  4. Lifenoun

    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; as, the life of a state, a machine, or a book; authority is the life of government

  5. Lifenoun

    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; as, low life; a good or evil life; the life of Indians, or of miners

  6. Lifenoun

    animation; spirit; vivacity; vigor; energy

  7. Lifenoun

    that which imparts or excites spirit or vigor; that upon which enjoyment or success depends; as, he was the life of the company, or of the enterprise

  8. Lifenoun

    the living or actual form, person, thing, or state; as, a picture or a description from the life

  9. Lifenoun

    a person; a living being, usually a human being; as, many lives were sacrificed

  10. Lifenoun

    the system of animal nature; animals in general, or considered collectively

  11. Lifenoun

    an essential constituent of life, esp. the blood

  12. Lifenoun

    a history of the acts and events of a life; a biography; as, Johnson wrote the life of Milton

  13. Lifenoun

    enjoyment in the right use of the powers; especially, a spiritual existence; happiness in the favor of God; heavenly felicity

  14. Lifenoun

    something dear to one as one's existence; a darling; -- used as a term of endearment

  15. Etymology: [AS. lf; akin to D. lijf body, G. leib body, MHG. lp life, body, OHG. lb life, Icel. lf, life, body, Sw. lif, Dan. liv, and E. live, v. 119. See Live, and cf. Alive.]


  1. Life

    Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased, or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate. Biology is the science concerned with the study of life. Any contiguous living system is called an organism. Organisms undergo metabolism, maintain homeostasis, possess a capacity to grow, respond to stimuli, reproduce and, through natural selection, adapt to their environment in successive generations. More complex living organisms can communicate through various means. A diverse array of living organisms can be found in the biosphere of Earth, and the properties common to these organisms—plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea, and bacteria—are a carbon- and water-based cellular form with complex organization and heritable genetic information. Scientific evidence suggests that life began on Earth approximately 3.5 billion years ago. The mechanism by which life emerged on Earth is unknown although many hypotheses have been formulated. Since then, life has evolved into a wide variety of forms, which biologists have classified into a hierarchy of taxa. Life can survive and thrive in a wide range of conditions. The meaning of life—its significance, origin, purpose, and ultimate fate—is a central concept and question in philosophy and religion. Both philosophy and religion have offered interpretations as to how life relates to existence and consciousness, and on related issues such as life stance, purpose, conception of a god or gods, a soul or an afterlife. Different cultures throughout history have had widely varying approaches to these issues.

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. life

    1. An ante-mortem statement; the intrigue of force and matter; the insomnia of death; a log-jam on the stream of life. 2. The pursuit of the superfluous. 3. The cupola of a tomb. 4. A game something like Blind Man's Buff. 5. The paradise of liars. 6. A compromise between Fate and Freewill. 7. A warfare between the sexes. 8. What you choose to make it. 9. A bank-account with so much divine energy at your disposal. 10. Just one improper number after another. 11. The interval between the time your teeth are almost through and you are almost through with your teeth. 12. An affirmative between two negatives.

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. life

    1. A cellular-automata game invented by John Horton Conway and first introduced publicly by Martin Gardner (Scientific American, October 1970); the game's popularity had to wait a few years for computers on which it could reasonably be played, as it's no fun to simulate the cells by hand. Many hackers pass through a stage of fascination with it, and hackers at various places contributed heavily to the mathematical analysis of this game (most notably Bill Gosper at MIT, who even implemented life in TECO!). When a hacker mentions ‘life’, he is much more likely to mean this game than the magazine, the breakfast cereal, or the human state of existence. Many web resources are available starting from the Open Directory page of Life. The Life Lexicon is a good indicator of what makes the game so fascinating.A glider, possibly the best known of the quasi-organic phenomena in the Game of Life. 2. The opposite of Usenet. As in “Get a life!”

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Life

    The state that distinguishes organisms from inorganic matter, manifested by growth, metabolism, reproduction, and adaptation. It includes the course of existence, the sum of experiences, the mode of existing, or the fact of being. Over the centuries inquiries into the nature of life have crossed the boundaries from philosophy to biology, forensic medicine, anthropology, etc., in creative as well as scientific literature. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2d ed; Dr. James H. Cassedy, NLM History of Medicine Division)

Editors Contribution

  1. life

    Time from birth to the present moment.

    This life is so precious which is why we are always loving, caring and kind to each other.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 16, 2020  

  2. life

    To exist as a being with a brain, heart, mind, soul, subconscious, conscience, consciousness and spirit.

    Our life on earth is a precious gift of which we all have an ethical and moral duty to create optimum health, human rights and shared prosperity for every human being and animal on planet earth.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 22, 2020  

  3. LIFEverb

    Its just the FLOW OF TIME

    Your own life, ur past experiences, your affection's, and finally the END OF THE LINE. Do u like Music? I do. So do you.

    Etymology: Trust the process. EVOLVE... There is more to life and death than u know it. BELIEVE.

    Submitted by 12b004_a on December 28, 2021  

  4. lifenoun

    You are "Living In Faith Elyon!" 0.) A long iron island of energy circulating in reason of growth and evolving trust. 1.) The same Greek word "psyche" can be translated life or soul.

    Positive connections to equal life in the order of Gods made human flesh.

    Etymology: Reasonable Energy in motion

    Submitted by Tehorah_Elyon on October 5, 2023  

Suggested Resources

  1. life

    Song lyrics by life -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by life on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. LIFE

    What does LIFE stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the LIFE acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. LIFE

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Life is ranked #37591 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Life surname appeared 592 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Life.

    79.7% or 472 total occurrences were White.
    13.5% or 80 total occurrences were Black.
    2.8% or 17 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    2.7% or 16 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.1% or 7 total occurrences were Asian.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Life' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #136

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Life' in Written Corpus Frequency: #330

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Life' in Nouns Frequency: #12

Anagrams for Life »

  1. file

  2. lief

  3. feil

  4. leif

How to pronounce Life?

How to say Life in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Life in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Life in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of Life in a Sentence

  1. Louise Sattler:

    Life is not a dress rehearsal - nor do you have an understudy.

  2. Albert Schweitzer:

    Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me. It is an uncomfortable doctrine which the true ethics whisper into my ear. You are happy, they say; therefore you are called upon to give much.

  3. Jessica Langford:

    I felt trapped in a teacher’s life. I was distracted, I was unable to focus only on my teaching duties, being the teacher all students wanted to have, I have learned to be a great teacher – does n’t mean I need to be a friend to students and that there should be boundaries between teacher-student relationships.

  4. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:

    Life is confusing enough right now for our children, think about those kids in Los Angeles who last week had their entire district closed because of a threat. Think about what they felt like the next day when they went back to school. Did they feel completely comfortable, did they feel like they were safe? How did their mothers and fathers feel when they sent them to school that day? And now today the Nashua schools are closed, based on a threat as well. How are those kids going to feel when they go back to school?

  5. Alfred Korzybski:

    There are two ways to slide easily through life to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Life

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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    the act of making a noisy disturbance
    A abhor
    B rumpus
    C render
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