meaning of life

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meaning of life

  1. (religion, philosophy) A hypothetical answer to all of life's ultimate questions; the purpose or raison d'être of human life.
    • 1841, Thomas Carlyle, Lectures on Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, ch. 6:
      The meaning of life here on earth might be defined as consisting in this: To unfold your self, to work what thing you have the faculty for. It is a necessity for the human being, the first law of our existence.
    • 1913, Jack London, John Barleycorn, ch. 7:
      I asked myself if this were the meaning of life—to be a work-beast?
    • 1915, William Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage, ch. 53:
      But he was no nearer to the meaning of life than he had been before. Why the world was there and what men had come into existence for at all was as inexplicable as ever.