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[free-liv-ing] /ˈfriˈlɪv ɪŋ/
following a way of life in which one freely indulges the appetites, desires, etc.
Biology. noting an organism that is neither parasitic, symbiotic, nor sessile.
Origin of free-living
1810-20 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for free-living
  • Mitochondria are descended from free-living bacteria, which several billion years ago were swallowed by complex cells.
  • To the authors, this suggests that the viruses are the evolutionary descendants of an ancient, free-living eukaryotic cell.
  • Stress, social status, and reproductive physiology in free-living baboons.
  • And then years of apprenticeship, precariously dependent on trustees amid a set of free-living medical students.
  • Mitochondria came from a free-living bacterium that was engulfed by a larger cell a few billion years ago.
  • By one estimate, parasites may outnumber free-living species four to one.
  • Tapeworms evolved from free-living flatworms, but they have undergone some radical changes.
  • In the depths of history, a free-living bacterium was engulfed by a larger cell and was neither digested nor destroyed.
  • free-living chimpanzees have been known to go out of their way to sit and watch the sunset.
  • Sooner or later, it's probable that free-living bacteria will repeat the experiment.
British Dictionary definitions for free-living


given to ready indulgence of the appetites
(of animals and plants) not parasitic; existing independently
Derived Forms
free-liver, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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