Meaning of ACTIVE in English

I. ac ‧ tive 1 S2 W2 /ˈæktɪv/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ act , ↑ action ≠ ↑ inaction , ↑ activity ≠ ↑ inactivity , ↑ reaction , ↑ interaction , ↑ overacting ; adjective : ↑ acting , ↑ active ≠ ↑ inactive ; verb : ↑ act ≠ ↑ overact ; adverb : ↑ actively ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: activus , from agere ; ⇨ ↑ ACT 1 ]

1 . BUSY always busy doing things, especially physical or mental activities OPP inactive :

games for active youngsters

She’s over 80, but is still very active.

active life/lifestyle

My father always led a very active life.

active mind/imagination

a child with a very active imagination

2 . INVOLVED involved in an organization or activity and doing lots of practical things to achieve your aims:

He became politically active at college.

be active in (doing) something

The Bureau is active in promoting overseas investment.

take/play an active part/role in something

Encourage students to take an active part in discussions.

She took an active interest in local charities.

active participation/involvement

the importance of active participation by elderly people in the life of the community

We’re taking active steps (=doing practical things) to deal with the problem.

We maintain active links with other European universities.

active member/supporter

He is an active member of the Labour Party.

3 . FUNCTIONING operating in a way that is normal or expected OPP inactive :

The virus is active even at low temperatures.

4 . DOING SOMETHING doing something regularly:

sexually active teenagers

5 . VOLCANO an active ↑ volcano is likely to explode at any time:

The volcano became active last year with a series of eruptions.

6 . GRAMMAR an active verb or sentence has the person or thing doing the action as its ↑ subject . In ‘The boy kicked the ball’, the verb ‘kick’ is active ⇨ ↑ passive 1 (2)

7 . CHEMICAL producing a chemical reaction:

nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco

—actively adverb :

Carol was actively involved in the local sports club.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ nouns

▪ an active life

He lived a full and active life.

▪ an active lifestyle

Studies show that an active lifestyle can reduce your chance of developing heart disease.

▪ an active mind (=when someone is able to think quickly and clearly)

A fit body is crucial if you want an active mind.

▪ an active imagination (=when someone is able to form pictures or ideas easily)

Some of the children have an overactive imagination.

■ verbs

▪ keep/remain active

We try to keep the patients active by taking them for a daily walk.

■ adverbs

▪ physically active

You need to become more physically active and eat less.

▪ highly/intensely active

an intensely active child

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ nouns

▪ an active role

Most men play a less active role in family life than women.

▪ an active part

Our members take an active part in fund-raising.

▪ an active member

She became an active member of the Geological Society.

▪ an active interest

As a teenager he began to take an active interest in politics.

▪ active participation/involvement (=in an activity or event)

Active participation in community life is important in small towns and villages.


The school encourages the active involvement of parents.

▪ an active participant

The student must be an active participant in the learning process.

▪ active support (=encouragement or help)

He wrote the book with the active support of his wife, Pam.

▪ an active supporter

The company is an active supporter of animal rights groups.

■ phrases

▪ play an active role in something

Do you play an active role in your community?

▪ take an active part in something

Most of the students take an active part in sports.

▪ take active steps to do something

You should take active steps towards reducing stress.

▪ take an active interest in something

Not many young people take an active interest in gardening.

■ adverbs

▪ politically active

As a student, he was politically active.

▪ economically active

The proportion of men aged 65–69 who are economically active has decreased.

II. active 2 BrE AmE noun

the active the active form of a verb, for example ‘destroyed’ in the sentence ‘Enemy planes destroyed the village.’

⇨ ↑ passive 2

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.