Old English liflic "living, existing," literally "life-like;" from life + -ly (2). The main modern sense of "active, energetic" developed by early 13c., from notion "full of life." For "full of life, vigorous," Old English had liffæst. The adverb is Old English liflice "vitally," from the adjective. Related: Liveliness.
1610s, alteration of livelode "means of keeping alive" (c. 1300), from Old English liflad "course of life," from lif "life" (see life) + lad "way, course" (see load (n.)). Similar formation in Old High German libleita "provisions." Spelling assimilated to words in -hood. Earlier livelihood was a different word, meaning "liveliness," from lively.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to stick, adhere; fat."
It forms all or part of: adipose; beleave; delay; leave (v.); lebensraum; life; liparo-; lipo- (1) "fat;" lipoma; liposuction; lively; live (v.); liver (n.1) "secreting organ of the body;" Olaf; relay.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek liparein "to persist, persevere," aleiphein "anoint with oil," lipos "fat;" Old English lifer "liver," læfan "to allow to remain."
1540s, "having life, not dead," a shortening of alive (q.v.). From 1610s of fire, coal, etc., "burning, glowing;" 1640s of things, conditions, etc., "full of active power;" sense of "containing unspent energy or power" (live ammunition) is from 1799.
Meaning "in-person, not recorded" (of performance) is attested by 1917. Live wire is attested from 1890, "circuit through which an electric current is flowing;" figurative sense of "active person" is from 1903. Jocular real live "genuine" is from 1887. The older adjective is lively.
A GRIM RECORD — The death harvest of the "live wire" and "third rail" goes right on. It is not governed by seasons nor, qualified by time. It is the ubiquitous epidemic of electricity, defiant of doctors and ruthless as fate. [The Insurance Press, Aug. 22, 1900]
1680s, from Italian vivace "brisk, lively," from Latin vivac-, stem of vivax "lively, vigorous; long-lived, enduring," from PIE root *gwei- "to live."
"lively, in good spirits," a variant of pert (q.v.).
1510s, "to dance, frolic," from Middle English adjective frisk "lively" (mid-15c.), from Old French frisque "lively, brisk," also "fresh, new; merry, animated" (13c.), which is ultimately from a Germanic source (compare Middle Dutch vrisch "fresh," Old High German frisc "lively;" see fresh (adj.1)). Sense of "pat down in a search" first recorded 1781. Related: Frisked; frisking. As a noun, "a frolic, a gambol," from 1520s.
1721 as a musical term, from Italian allegro "brisk, sprightly, cheerful," from Latin alacrem (nominative alacer) "lively, cheerful, brisk" (see alacrity). The same Latin word came into English 17c. as aleger "lively, brisk," from Old French alegre, from Latin alacris; and Milton used "L'Allegro" in its literal sense as a poem title (1632).