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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)
  • 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. Having susceptibility; easily impressed; having lively feelings, as opposed to apathy; sensitive.
    • 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.

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.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for alive in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)