come alive

Idioms & Phrases

come alive

Also, come to life.

  1. Become vigorous or lively. For example, It took some fast rhythms to make the dancers come alive, or As soon as he mentioned ice cream, the children came to life. The adjective alive has been used in the sense of "vivacious" since the 1700s. Also, the variant originally (late 1600s) meant "to recover from a faint or apparent death." [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]

  2. Appear real or believable, as in It's really hard to make this prose come to life. Also see look alive.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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