Meaning of ACTIVE in English

I. ˈaktiv, -ēv also -əv adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French actif, from Latin activus, from actus (past participle of agere to act) + -ivus -ive — more at agent

1. : characterized by action rather than by contemplation or speculation

an active man

2. : productive of action or movement

a dog very much awake and filled with active antagonism — Jack McLaren


a. of a verb form or voice : asserting that the person or thing represented by the grammatical subject performs the action represented by the verb

hits in “he hits the ball” and shone in “the sun shone” are active

— contrasted with middle and passive

b. : expressing action as distinct from mere existence or state

“he walks” and “he walked” have active verbs

— now used especially in the grammar of certain American Indian and African languages; compare neuter 1b, static , stative

c. of a grammatical construction : containing an active verb form

4. : quick in physical movement : of agile and vigorous habit : nimble , lively

an animal active in burrowing

5. : requiring vigorous action or exertion

an interest in active sports


a. : having practical operation or results : effective

an active law

b. of a volcano : erupting at the present time or at intervals of a few years or having a crater that contains fluid lava — compare dormant , extinct


a. : disposed to action : energetic , diligent

to take an active interest

b. : engaged in an action or activity : participating

an active club member

8. : engaged in full-time service especially in the armed forces

ordered to active duty

9. : marked by present operation, transaction, movement, or use

an active coal mine

an active bank account

active titles in a publisher's catalog

a student's active vocabulary


a. : capable of acting or reacting especially in some specific manner or with more than ordinary vigor : reactive , activated

active nitrogen

active charcoal

b. : optically active

c. : radioactive

an active deposit

11. : still eligible to win the pot in poker — used of a player who has not dropped

12. : moving down the line or visiting in the set — used of couples in contredanses or square dances

13. of a disease : progressing or retrogressing

active tuberculosis

• ac·tive·ly -tə̇vlē, -li adverb

• ac·tive·ness -ivnə̇s, -ēv- also -əv- noun -es

II. noun

( -s )

1. : one that is active

fraternity alumni and actives


a. : an active verb

b. : the active voice of a language or a form in it

III. adjective

1. : requiring the expenditure of energy

active calcium ion uptake

2. : of or relating to the collection, storage, and redistribution of the sun's heat especially with the aid of pumps and blowers

an active solar energy system

3. : functioning by the emission of radiant energy or sound

an active sensor

active sonar

4. : characterized by emission of large amounts of electromagnetic energy

an active galactic nucleus

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.