c. 1200, "alive, not dead," also "residing, staying," present-participle adjective from live (v.)). Replaced Old English lifende "living, having life." Of water, "constantly flowing," late 14c., a biblical idiom. Of rock, stone, etc., "in its original state and place," from Latin use of vivus in reference to unwrought stone. Living dead was used from early 18c. in various figurative senses ("those who though dead live in their writings," etc.), from 1919 in reference to those who have died and been revived. From 1971 in reference to zombies, vampires, etc.