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Old English life (dative lif) "existence, lifetime, way of life, condition of being a living thing, opposite of death," from Proto-Germanic *libam (cf. Old Norse lif "life, body," Dutch lijf "body," Old High German lib "life," German Leib "body"), properly "continuance, perseverance," from PIE *leip- "to remain, persevere, continue; stick, adhere" (see leave (v.)). Much of the modern range of meanings was present in Old English. Meaning "property which distinguishes living from non-living matter" is from 1560s. Sense of "vitality, energy" is from 1580s. Extended 1703 to "term of duration (of inanimate objects)."
Life-jacket is from 1840; life-preserver from 1630s of anything that is meant to save a life, 1803 of devices worn to prevent drowning. Life-saver is from 1883, figurative use from 1909, as a brand of hard sugar candy, from 1912, so called for shape. Life-form is from 1861. Life cycle is from 1855.
Old English lifian (Anglian), libban (West Saxon) "to be, to live, have life; to experience," also "to supply oneself with food, to pass life (in some condition)," from Proto-Germanic *liben (cf. Old Norse lifa "to live, remain," Old Frisian libba, German leben, Gothic liban "to live"), from PIE root *leip- "to remain, continue" (cf. Greek liparein "to persist, persevere;" see leave). Meaning "to make a residence, dwell" is from c.1200. Related: Lived; living.
According to the Dutch Prouerbe ... Leuen ende laetan leuen, To liue and to let others liue. [Malynes, 1622]To live it up "live gaily and extravagantly" is from 1903. To live up to "act in accordance with" is 1690s, from earlier live up "live on a high (moral or mental) level" (1680s). To live (something) down "outwear (some slander or embarrassment)" is from 1842. To live with "cohabit as husband and wife" is attested from 1749; sense of "to put up with" is attested from 1937. Expression live and learn is attested from c.1620.
1540s, "having life," later (1610s) "burning, glowing," a shortening of alive (q.v.). Sense of "containing unspent energy or power" (live ammunition, etc.) is from 1799. Meaning "in-person" (of performance) is first attested 1934. Live wire is attested from 1890; figurative sense of "active person" is from 1903.
n. pl. lives (līvz)
The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.
The characteristic state or condition of a living organism.
Living organisms considered as a group.
A living being, especially a person.
Having life; alive.
Capable of replicating in a host's cells.
Containing living microorganisms or active virus, as a vaccine.
generally of physical life (Gen. 2:7; Luke 16:25, etc.); also used figuratively (1) for immortality (Heb. 7:16); (2) conduct or manner of life (Rom. 6:4); (3) spiritual life or salvation (John 3:16, 17, 18, 36); (4) eternal life (Matt. 19:16, 17; John 3:15); of God and Christ as the absolute source and cause of all life (John 1:4; 5:26, 39; 11:25; 12:50).