live (v.)

Middle English liven, from Old English lifian (Anglian), libban (West Saxon) "to be, be alive, have life; continue in life; to experience," also "to supply oneself with food, procure a means of subsistence; pass life in a specified fashion," from Proto-Germanic *libejanan (source also of Old Norse lifa "to be left; to live; to live on," of fire, "to burn;" Old Frisian libba, German leben, Gothic liban "to live"), from PIE root *leip- "to stick, adhere," forming words meaning "to remain, continue."

Meaning "to make a residence, dwell" is from c. 1200. Meaning "express in one's life" (live a lie) is from 1540s. Intensified sense "have life abundantly, make full use of life's opportunities" is from c. 1600. Related: Lived; living.

To live it up "live gaily and extravagantly" is from 1903. To live up to "act in accordance with, not live below the standard of" is 1690s, from earlier live up "live on a high (moral or mental) level" (1680s). To live (something) down "cause (something disreputable) to be forgotten by subsequent blameless course, live so as to disprove" is from 1842. To live with "cohabit as husband and wife" is attested from 1749; sense of "to put up with" is attested from 1937. Expression live and learn is attested from c. 1620.

According to the Dutch Prouerbe ... Leuen ende laetan leuen, To liue and to let others liue. [Gerard de Malynes, 1622]

live (adj.)

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]

updated on January 28, 2022

Definitions of live from WordNet
live (adj.)
highly reverberant;
a live concert hall
live (adj.)
possessing life;
a live canary
Synonyms: alive
live (adj.)
actually being performed at the time of hearing or viewing;
a live television program
brought to you live from Lincoln Center
live entertainment involves performers actually in the physical presence of a live audience
Synonyms: unrecorded
live (adj.)
exerting force or containing energy;
got a shock from a live wire
a live bomb
live coals
tossed a live cigarette out the window
live ore is unmined ore
a live ball is one in play
live (adj.)
charged with an explosive;
a live bomb
live ammunition
live (adj.)
elastic; rebounds readily;
Synonyms: bouncy / lively / resilient / springy
live (adj.)
abounding with life and energy;
the club members are a really live bunch
live (adj.)
in current use or ready for use;
live copy is ready to be set in type or already set but not yet proofread
live (adj.)
of current relevance;
still a live option
a live issue
live (adj.)
charged or energized with electricity;
a live wire
Synonyms: hot
live (adj.)
capable of erupting;
a live volcano
Synonyms: alive
live (v.)
be an inhabitant of or reside in;
People lived in Africa millions of years ago
Synonyms: populate / dwell / inhabit
live (v.)
lead a certain kind of life; live in a certain style;
we had to live frugally after the war
live (v.)
continue to live and avoid dying;
how long can a person last without food and water?" "One crash victim died, the other lived
The race car driver lived through several very serious accidents
Synonyms: survive / last / live on / go / endure / hold up / hold out
live (v.)
support oneself;
Can you live on $2000 a month in New York City?
Synonyms: exist / survive / subsist
live (v.)
have life, be alive;
My grandfather lived until the end of war
Synonyms: be
live (v.)
have firsthand knowledge of states, situations, emotions, or sensations;
I have lived a kind of hell when I was a drug addict
The holocaust survivors have lived a nightmare
I lived through two divorces
Synonyms: know / experience
live (v.)
pursue a positive and satisfying existence;
You must accept yourself and others if you really want to live
live (adv.)
not recorded;
the opera was broadcast live
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.