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From Middle English alive, alyve, alife, from Old English on līfe (in life), equivalent to a- +‎ live.


  • (US) IPA(key): /əˈlaɪv/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪv


alive (comparative more alive, superlative most alive)

  1. Having life; living; not dead
    As long as the plant is alive, he will continue to water it.
  2. In a state of action; in force or operation; existent
    to keep the fire alive
    to keep the affections alive
  3. Busy with activity of many living beings; swarming; thronged; busy.
    Although quite dull during the day, the main street comes alive at night, with many bars and clubs opening.
  4. Sprightly; lively; brisk.
    • 2018 May 26, Daniel Taylor, “Liverpool go through after Mohamed Salah stops Manchester City fightback”, in The Guardian (London)[1]:
      Liverpool’s equaliser came within four minutes. James Milner swung the ball over from a corner on the right and Sadio Mané, Liverpool’s most dangerous player, was alive in the six-yard area.
  5. susceptible; easy to impress; having keen feelings, as opposed to apathy
    • 1762, Falconer, William, The Shipwreck:
      Though tremblingly alive to Nature's laws, Yet ever firm to Honour's sacred cause
  6. (as an intensifier) out of all living creatures.
    • 1702, Clarendon, Edward Hyde, The History of the Rebellion:
      The Earl of Northumberland 'was the proudest man alive' and 'was in all his deportment a very great man.
    • 2000, Candye Kane (lyrics and music), “The Toughest Girl Alive”:
      I'm the toughest girl alive.
      I walked through the fire and I survived.
  7. (programming) Synonym of live

Usage notes[edit]

  • Alive always follows the noun which it qualifies, for example "The bee is alive". Before a noun, the adjectives living or live may be used with a similar meaning



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


alive in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.