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live one




Possibly an allusion to hooking a particularly lively fish on a fishing line.


live one (plural live ones)

  1. (idiomatic) Someone who is easily fooled, victimized, or ridiculed.
    • 2009, Bill Virgin, "In 2009, it's all about green," Seattle Post-Intelligencer (USA), 7 Jan. (retrieved 3 Feb. 2009):
      There's green as in greenhorn, meaning inexperienced and gullible. Those with a pitch to sell are going to spot a live one—in this case government with dollars practically falling out of its pockets—coming from miles away.
  2. (idiomatic) Someone who is eccentric, nonconformist, or otherwise peculiar.
    • 1997, Charles Placker, "Ministry of happiness denies the crucifixion," The Victoria Advocate (Texas, USA), 13 Sep., p. 3D (retrieved 3 Feb 2009):
      They've got a live one in the crowd, he's scary, he looks dangerous, demon possessed, he doesn't know who he is, he speaks in strange voices.
    • 2004, Polly Curtis, "HE Diary: Howells has landed,", 28 Sep. (retrieved 3 Feb. 2009):
      We've got a live one. Kim Howells burst on to the scene last week with his first foray into university politics as higher education minister. The man best known for labelling the Turner Prize "conceptual bullshit" was not sounding very on-message. In a departure from his prepared speech on the launch of an NUS information campaign for would-be students, Howells started, well, rambling.
  3. (idiomatic) A person, thing, or situation which is particularly interesting, noteworthy, or urgent.
    • 2007, Tom Lawrence, "Area DUI crack down reduces arrests," Black Hills Pioneer (South Dakota, USA), 2 Jan. (retrieved 3 Feb. 2009):
      "We got a live one here," he said as he speeds up in pursuit of a car.

Usage notesEdit

  • When used in the singular, almost always preceded by a.



  • "live one" at OneLook® Dictionary Search.