English

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Etymology

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From Middle English alive, alife, olive, olife, on live, on life, from Old English on līf (alive, literally in life" or "in (the) body), from on (on, in) + līf, dative singular of līf (life). In this sense, replaced Old English cwic (whence English quick). Equivalent to a- +‎ life. Compare Dutch in leven (alive, literally in life), German am Leben (alive, literally at life" or "at living).

Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /əˈlaɪv/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Audio (UK):(file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪv

Adjective

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alive (comparative more alive, superlative most alive)

  1. Having life; living; not dead.
    As long as the plant is alive, he will continue to water it.
  2. In a state of action; in force or operation; existent.
    to keep the fire alive
    to keep the affections alive
  3. Busy with activity of many living beings; swarming; thronged; busy.
    Although quite dull during the day, the main street comes alive at night, with many bars and clubs opening.
  4. (of electrical wiring) Carrying electrical current; energized.
    DANGER: OVERHEAD CATENARY - WIRE IS ALIVE
  5. (in the construction "alive to") Aware of; sensitive to.
    We are alive to the ongoing potential for terrorist attacks.
    • 1925, Godfrey W. Mathews, The Chester Mystery Plays [] ., Liverpool: Edward Howell LTD, page 5:
      We may be sure that the Church would be alive to the dangers of allowing the plays to be performed outside the sacred edifice.
  6. Sprightly; lively; brisk.
    • 1836 March – 1837 October, Charles Dickens, “(please specify the chapter name)”, in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1837, →OCLC:
      Smouch, requesting Mr. Pickwick in a surly manner ‘to be as alive as he could, for it was a busy time,’ drew up a chair by the door and sat there, until he had finished dressing.
    • 2018 May 26, Daniel Taylor, “Liverpool go through after Mohamed Salah stops Manchester City fightback”, in The Guardian (London)[1]:
      Liverpool’s equaliser came within four minutes. James Milner swung the ball over from a corner on the right and Sadio Mané, Liverpool’s most dangerous player, was alive in the six-yard area.
  7. Susceptible, sensitive; easy to impress; having keen feelings, as opposed to apathy.
    • 1762, William Falconer, The Shipwreck:
      Though tremblingly alive to Nature's laws, Yet ever firm to Honour's sacred cause
    • 1887, Robert Louis Stevenson, “Pastoral”, in Memories and Portraits, New York: Charles Scribner, page 99:
      This was a reproach to John, and a slur upon the dog; and both were alive to their misfortune.
  8. (intensifier) Out of all living creatures.
    • 1702, Edward Hyde Clarendon, The History of the Rebellion:
      The Earl of Northumberland 'was the proudest man alive' and 'was in all his deportment a very great man.
    • 2000, Candye Kane (lyrics and music), “The Toughest Girl Alive”:
      I'm the toughest girl alive / I walked through the fire and I survived.
  9. (programming) Synonym of live

Usage notes

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  • Alive always follows the noun which it qualifies; for example, "The bee is alive". Before a noun, the adjectives living or live may be used with a similar meaning.

Synonyms

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Antonyms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

References

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alive”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.

Anagrams

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Middle English

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Adjective

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alive

  1. Alternative form of alyve