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Alternative forms[edit]


From life +‎ blood. Compare English heart-blood (lifeblood).


lifeblood (usually uncountable, plural lifebloods)

  1. Blood that is needed for continued life; blood regarded as the seat of life.
    Hypernym: blood
    • 1920, Edward Carpenter, Pagan and Christian Creeds, New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., page 62:
      [Y]ou desire his mana, yet you respect his tabu, for in you and him alike runs the common life-blood.
    • circa 1980, George Spelvin, Petticoat Loose, Act II, Scene 1, published in George Spelvin's theatre book, volume 3:
      You didn't come to me in time. And by the time you came to me that fool of a doctor had bled and leeched the lifeblood out of Timmy.
    • 2014, Andre Norton, Tales from High Hallack:
      It was she who stopped the lifeblood flow when Karl misswung an axe until Herta could come.
  2. (figuratively) That which is required for continued existence or function.
    Synonym: essence
    Gasoline is the lifeblood of the modern city.
    • 1991, Winn Schwartau, Terminal Compromise[1]:
      Information is the lifeblood of the United States and the world.
    • 2006, James E. Kibler, Memory's Keep, page 55:
      The road brought invaders who left them hungry and dug up the dead. The road took living children away and made them dead to home. It was as if the roads were veins that bled off lifeblood but never pumped it back in.
    • 2019 October, Tony Miles, Philip Sherratt, “EMR kicks off new era”, in Modern Railways, page 56:
      'We want to be able to market some of these small stations and the lifeblood lines where we currently have short trains in service.'
    • 2020 May 20, Paul Bigland, “East London Line's renaissance”, in Rail, page 46:
      Like most Victorian Railways, freight was the line's lifeblood.