Definition of active in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈaktiv/


1(Of a person) engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits: I needed to change my lifestyle and become more active
More example sentences
  • Among older adults categorized as physically active, 24.7 percent engage in strength training.
  • Despite predictions of almost unbounded mobility, most people in industrialised nations are less physically active than ever before.
  • Being physically active also helps, a morning run, ride or swim really gets those feel good hormones pumping and keeps those cortisol levels down.
energetic, lively, sprightly, spry, mobile, vigorous, vital, dynamic, sporty;
busy, occupied
informal on the go
1.1Moving or tending to move about vigorously or frequently: active fish need a larger tank
More example sentences
  • This is analogous to the predator also being an active forager moving frequently between patches.
  • If the defense is active and moves from one side of the offense to the other quickly, it can be confusing to the offensive players teammates.
  • S / he is a good size, vigorously active, has all the relevant bits and bobs, and is doing just fine.
1.2Characterized by energetic activity: they enjoyed an active social life
More example sentences
  • These are busy women with very active social lives.
  • Not that Elle actually had time to notice what went on with Aaron lately, what with her new busy and active social life and all.
  • Why not come along and join us. we are a very busy and active institute and meet on the third Thursday at St Peter's Church in Hextable.
1.3(Of a person’s mind or imagination) alert and lively.
Example sentences
  • All the poems in Trouble in Mind depend on the reader's active imagination; in fact, they read as instructions for it.
  • Not that I've spent a lot of time rummaging around such places, mind you, but I got me an active imagination.
  • My friend also had something most of these heirs don't: a vital and active mind.
2Doing things for an organization, cause, or campaign, rather than simply giving it one’s support: she was an active member of the church he had never been very active in the affairs of the institute he enjoyed the active support of the government
More example sentences
  • Watson was also very active in his support for the London Mathematical Society.
  • He eventually supported the new government and was active in various campaigns.
  • The minimum wage campaign needs the active support of the labour community.
2.1(Of a person) participating or engaged in a particular sphere or activity: a politically active student body
More example sentences
  • The order has a large urban base, and its educated members are particularly politically active.
  • About a quarter were sexually active before participating in the Wise Guys program.
  • He became politically active as a student and was a founder member of the Congress of Democrats.
hard-working, busy, industrious, diligent, tireless, contributing, effective, enterprising, involved, enthusiastic, keen, committed, devoted, zealous
2.2 [predicative] (Of a person or animal) pursuing their usual occupation or activity, typically at a particular place or time: tigers are active mainly at night
More example sentences
  • The lack of knowledge stemmed from the fact that cats are active mainly at night and almost impossible to see in the dense vegetation where they usually live.
  • These are those who live in the areas where the fighters are active.
  • The Feather finfish resembling a bat is active at night.
3Working; operative: the old mill was active until 1960
More example sentences
  • Rational strengths of force groupings for the employment in the zone of active combat operations can be substantiated by two methods.
  • And, frankly, we saw what happened once active operations got under way.
  • He has also noted that about half the cases this year occurred during active hostilities or combat operations in the Persian Gulf.
operative, working, functioning, functional, operating, operational, in action, in operation, running;
informal up and running
3.1(Of a bank account) in continuous use.
Example sentences
  • A problem I notice a lot is when I go to companies, lots of accounts are still active for employees who no longer work there.
  • Today, it has some 6.6 million active accounts and 85 percent conduct trades over the Web.
  • Wouldn't the bank have tried to find one or the other of us if the account was still active?
3.2(Of an electrical circuit) capable of modifying its state or characteristics automatically in response to input or feedback.
Example sentences
  • An active cascode amplifier circuit which includes an active cascode amplifier and an amplitude limiter.
  • An active bypass circuit for use with a battery pack having a plurality of cells and method of operation thereof.
  • Each of the associated heater resistors has associated active circuitry on the chip.
3.3(Of a volcano) currently erupting, or that has erupted within historical times. Often contrasted with dormant or extinct.
Example sentences
  • Deception Island is a historically active volcano with the last eruptions about 30 years ago.
  • The active volcanoes erupt a type of rock known as basalt.
  • Some of the best rice-growing regions of Indonesia are in the shadow of active volcanoes.
3.4(Of a disease) in which the symptoms are manifest; not in remission or latent: active colitis
More example sentences
  • Two percent of elderly with latent infections develop active tuberculosis.
  • In this regard, it is desirable to test their ability to distinguish between active disease and indolent infection.
  • The differential diagnosis from chronic active hepatitis may present some difficult problems.
3.5Having a chemical or biological effect on something: 350 active ingredients have been banned from pesticides
More example sentences
  • This was supposedly caused by a chemical transformation of the active ingredient, but that conclusion was disputed by other scientists.
  • They then perform a crude screening of the organisms to determine if they contain novel chemicals that are biologically active.
  • Large numbers of plant species are a great source of biologically active compounds whose effect on human health or genetic material is mostly unknown.
4 Grammar Relating to or denoting the voice that attributes the action of a verb to the person or thing from which it logically proceeds (e.g., of the verbs in guns kill and we saw him). The opposite of passive.
Example sentences
  • Be ruthless with clutter, write in the active voice, place each idea into a sentence of its own, and lastly, get your punctuation right.
  • Military vision documents are written in the active voice, with strong verbs and modifiers.
  • Another advantage of sentences written in active voice is that the sentences are usually shorter.


1An active form of a verb.
Example sentences
  • By the way, they discuss many different kinds of bias on the part of the news agency, not just choice between actives and passives.
  • Then there were yet more inflections of verbs, passives alongside actives, subjunctives alongside indicatives, imperatives, present and past participles, gerunds and gerundives.
1.1 (the active) The active voice.
Example sentences
  • Tracy has turned the passive into the active; she is a thrill seeker.
  • Never use the passive where you can use the active.



Pronunciation: /ˈaktivnəs/


Middle English (in the sense 'preferring action to contemplation'): from Latin activus, from act- 'done', from the verb agere.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ac·tive

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