Meaning of LIFE in English

transcription, транскрипция: [ laɪf ]

( lives /laɪvz/ )

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.


Life is the quality which people, animals, and plants have when they are not dead, and which objects and substances do not have.

...a baby’s first minutes of life...

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty as a violation of the right to life.

...the earth’s supply of life-giving oxygen.



You can use life to refer to things or groups of things which are alive.

Is there life on Mars?...

The book includes some useful facts about animal and plant life.

N-UNCOUNT : with supp


If you refer to someone’s life , you mean their state of being alive, especially when there is a risk or danger of them dying.

Your life is in danger...

A nurse began to try to save his life...

The intense fighting is reported to have claimed many lives.

N-COUNT : usu poss N


Someone’s life is the period of time during which they are alive.

He spent the last fourteen years of his life in retirement...

For the first time in his life he regretted that he had no faith.

N-COUNT : poss N


You can use life to refer to a period of someone’s life when they are in a particular situation or job.

Interior designers spend their working lives keeping up to date with the latest trends...

That was the beginning of my life in the television business.

N-COUNT : with supp , usu poss N


You can use life to refer to particular activities which people regularly do during their lives.

My personal life has had to take second place to my career...

Most diabetics have a normal sex life.

N-COUNT : supp N


You can use life to refer to the events and experiences that happen to people while they are alive.

Life won’t be dull!...

It’s the people with insecurities who make life difficult.



If you know a lot about life , you have gained many varied experiences, for example by travelling a lot and meeting different kinds of people.

I was 19 and too young to know much about life...

I needed some time off from education to experience life.



You can use life to refer to the things that people do and experience that are characteristic of a particular place, group, or activity.

How did you adjust to college life?

...the culture and life of north Africa...

N-UNCOUNT : usu supp N


A person, place, book, or film that is full of life gives an impression of excitement, energy, or cheerfulness.

The town itself was full of life and character...

N-UNCOUNT [ approval ]


If someone is sentenced to life , they are sentenced to stay in prison for the rest of their life or for a very long time. ( INFORMAL )

He could get life in prison, if convicted.



The life of something such as a machine, organization, or project is the period of time that it lasts for.

The repairs did not increase the value or the life of the equipment.

N-COUNT : with poss


If you bring something to life or if it comes to life , it becomes interesting or exciting.

The cold, hard cruelty of two young men is vividly brought to life in this true story...

Poems which had seemed dull and boring suddenly came to life.

PHRASE : V inflects


If something or someone comes to life , they become active.

The volcano came to life a week ago.

PHRASE : V inflects


If you say that someone is fighting for their life , you mean that they are in a very serious condition and may die as a result of an accident or illness. ( JOURNALISM )

He was in a critical condition, fighting for his life in hospital.

PHRASE : V inflects


For life means for the rest of a person’s life.

He was jailed for life in 1966 for the murder of three policemen...

She may have been scarred for life...

PHRASE : PHR after v , n PHR


If you say that someone does something for dear life or for their life , you mean that they do it using all their strength and effort because they are in a dangerous or urgent situation. ( INFORMAL )

I made for the life raft and hung on for dear life.

PHRASE : PHR after v [ emphasis ]


If you tell someone to get a life , you are expressing frustration with them because their life seems boring or they seem to care too much about unimportant things. ( INFORMAL )

PHRASE [ disapproval ]


You can use in all my life or in my life to emphasize that you have never previously experienced something to such a degree.

I have never been so scared in all my life...

PHRASE : usu with brd-neg , usu PHR after v [ emphasis ]


If you say that someone or something is larger than life , you mean that they appear or behave in a way that seems more exaggerated or important than usual.

...not that we should expect all good publishers to be larger than life...

Throughout his career he’s always been a larger than life character.

PHRASE : v-link PHR , PHR n


If someone lays down their life for another person, they die so that the other person can live. ( LITERARY )

Man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.

PHRASE : V inflects , usu PHR for n


If someone risks life and limb , they do something very dangerous that may cause them to die or be seriously injured.

Viewers will remember the dashing hero, Dirk, risking life and limb to rescue Daphne from the dragons.

PHRASE : V inflects


If you refer to someone as the life and soul of the party , you mean that they are very lively and entertaining on social occasions, and are good at mixing with people. In American English, you usually say that they are the life of the party .

PHRASE : usu v-link PHR [ approval ]


If something starts life or begins life as a particular thing, it is that thing when it first starts to exist.

Herr’s book started life as a dramatic screenplay.

PHRASE : V inflects , usu PHR as n


If someone takes another person’s life , they kill them. If someone takes their own life , they kill themselves. ( FORMAL )

Before execution, he admitted to taking the lives of at least 35 more women...

He helped his first wife take her life when she was dying of cancer.

PHRASE : V and N inflect


You can use expressions such as to come to life , to spring to life , and to roar into life to indicate that a machine or vehicle suddenly starts working or moving. ( LITERARY )

To his great relief the engine came to life...

In the garden of the Savoy Hotel the sprinklers suddenly burst into life.

PHRASE : V inflects


a matter of life and death: see death

a new lease of life: see lease

to have the time of your life: see time

true to life: see true

see also fact of life , kiss of life

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.