Definition of alive in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈlīv/


1(Of a person, animal, or plant) living, not dead: hopes of finding anyone still alive were fading he was kept alive by a feeding-tube
More example sentences
  • It would make no difference to Frank whether the creature was alive or dead.
  • Most of us would accept that the cat is either alive or dead at a given time.
  • I like to be reminded of the spring miracle, especially in the depth of winter, when the vibrantly alive trees look so dead.
living, live;
breathing, vital, functioning;
animate, sentient;
informal alive and kicking, in the land of the living, among the living
archaic quick
1.1Continuing in existence or use: keeping hope alive militarism was kept alive by pure superstition
More example sentences
  • They kept his memory alive by continuing to cook up The Recipe.
  • Teams want to help keep Joel's memory alive by continuing his work, and the response really has been something else.
  • Joe realises that younger people may find it difficult to realise why this sense of nostalgia is so important to him but he continues to try to keep the memory of bygone days alive.
in existence, existing, active, existent, extant, ongoing, abiding, functioning, in operation;
current, contemporary
informal on the map
2(Of a person or animal) alert and active; animated: Ken comes alive when he hears his music played
More example sentences
  • Paradoxically, the librarian comes alive in his animated form.
  • On stage he comes alive and places the audience under a spell; outside of it, he works fiercely with a number of charities and human rights organisations.
  • He relaxes, and he comes alive - he turns on the charm.
animated, lively, full of life, alert, active, energetic, vigorous, spry, sprightly, vital, vivacious, buoyant, exuberant, ebullient, zestful, spirited
informal full of beans, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, chirpy, chipper, peppy, full of vim and vigor
2.1Having interest and meaning: we hope we will make history come alive for the children
More example sentences
  • It is a gifted novelist, indeed, who can make ordinary events come alive, and who can interest the reader in ordinary, even dull, characters.
  • It was really interesting to watch the levels come alive as the team found better and smarter ways of doing things.
  • The channel did, after all, make northern Jersey come alive.
3 (alive to) Aware of and interested in; responsive to: always alive to new ideas
More example sentences
  • In foreign affairs we have pursued our national interest robustly while remaining alive to the needs and interests of others.
  • The respondent must have been alive to the possibility that a cyclist could come along.
  • He was socially conscious in every sense, alive to the possibilities of celebrating what he found.
4 (alive with) Swarming or teeming with: in spring those cliffs are alive with auks and gulls
More example sentences
  • The format of this book is alive with visuals and packed with persuasive language.
  • The town will be alive with an abundance of colour and plenty of entertainment for all the family.
  • Obscure slices of history and allegories abound and every spot comes alive with some parable or other.
teeming, swarming, overrun, bristling, infested;
crowded, packed
informal crawling, lousy
rare pullulating



alive and kicking

informal Prevalent and very active: bigotry is still alive and kicking
More example sentences
  • It needs a demonstration that it is alive and kicking.
  • People have been forecasting that for a long time and could I tell you they're still very much alive and kicking.
  • History was alive and kicking on Saturday when around 100 people brought their archaeological finds to Westbury Visitor Centre.

alive and well

Still existing or active (often used to deny rumors or beliefs that something has disappeared or declined): Jefferson’s ideas are alive and well today in Washington
More example sentences
  • Forget the market reaction to the interim banking profits so far, the industry is alive and well.
  • He may have disappeared from British politics, but the former Prime Minister is alive and well and ruling Australia.
  • Missing student Vicky Stephenson was today found alive and well in Dublin.

look alive

see look.



Example sentences
  • Authentic choices and actions bring forth spirit: the energy that gives courage, passion, vitality, intensity, and aliveness to our existence.
  • Mauri is the unique life-force, the vitality, source and essential energy that drives existence, aliveness and being.
  • I mean it in the concrete sense that is used in everyday life, the sense of soul, feeling, connectedness, inspiration, and aliveness.


Old English on līfe, literally 'in life'.

  • live from Old English:

    In the sense ‘to be alive’, live goes back to the same root as life. The other live, with a different pronunciation, is a mid16th-century shortening of alive (Old English). The proverb live and let live is identified as Dutch in the earliest known reference, from 1622. Live and Let Die, the 1954 James Bond book, filmed in 1973, subverted it. The rhyme ‘He who fights and runs away / Lives to fight another day’ gives us the phrase live to fight another day. The idea is found in the works of the Greek comic playwright Menander, who lived from around 342 to 292 bc.

Words that rhyme with alive

arrive, chive, Clive, connive, contrive, deprive, dive, drive, five, gyve, hive, I've, jive, live, MI5, revive, rive, shrive, skive, strive, survive, swive, thrive

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: a·live

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