9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[lahy-fer] /ˈlaɪ fər/
noun, Slang.
a person sentenced to or serving a term of life imprisonment.
a person committed to a professional lifetime career in the military.
a person who has devoted a lifetime to a profession, occupation, or pursuit.
  1. Also called life bird. a species of bird not seen previously and that will therefore be added to the bird watcher's life list.
  2. the sighting of a bird of a previously unseen species:
    It seems like forever since I've had a lifer!
Origin of lifer
1820-30; life + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lifer
  • So if your a pro-lifer and have any moral integrity nuclear power plants wouldn't even be on the table.
  • Eric, you make lots of nasty comments about pro-lifer's and the unsubstantiated actions they're accused of at clinics.
  • Indeed a lifer had his sentenced changed to life with parole by a parole board, was paroled and murdered again.
British Dictionary definitions for lifer


(informal) a prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment
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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Word Origin and History for lifer

"prisoner serving a life sentence," 1830, from life (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for lifer


  1. A convict serving a life sentence (1830+)
  2. A career Army officer: ''lifers'' (the contemptuous GI term for career officers) (WWII Army)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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