1590s (in vive le roi), from French, literally "long live ______!" It is the French equivalent of viva (q.v.). The opposite is à bas "down! down with!" Jocular phrase vive la différence in reference to the difference between men and women is recorded from 1963. Also in vive la bagatelle, literally "long live nonsense," denoting a carefree attitude to life.
updated on September 25, 2016