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life - definition and synonyms


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noun life pronunciation in British English /laɪf/
Word Forms
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  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the period of time from someones birth until their death
    She devoted her life to helping others.
    He had a long and happy life.
    spend your life: Don’t spend your whole life worrying about money.
    in (all) your life: I have never been so disappointed in my life.
    all your life: She’s lived in California all her life.
    early life (=the time when you are a child): He spent his early life in Malaysia.
    adult life (=the time when you are an adult): He lived most of his adult life in prison.
    in later life (=towards the end of someone’s life): It was in later life that he wrote some of his best poems.
    late in life (=at a time in your life that is later than usual): She got married late in life.
    for life (=continuing through your whole life): The accident left her scarred for life.
    See also working life
  2. 2
    [countable] [usually singular] your particular way of living and the experiences that you have
    His life revolves around his children.
    It was an event that would change his life forever.
    lead a happy/normal/interesting etc life: I just want to be able to lead a normal life.
    a hard life (=a difficult life): She looks like someone who’s had a very hard life.
    1. a.
      [countable/uncountable] the events and experiences that are typical of a particular place or group of people
      I had no idea what life with a baby would be like.
      city/village/prison/university etc life: Escape from the bustle and noise of city life for a while.
      the life of someone: The life of a film star is not always a glamorous one.
      married life (=the time when you are married or the life that you have): How’s married life suiting you?
    2. b.
      [uncountable] the events and experiences that happen to people in general
      He’s a person who really loves life.
      His mother has a great enthusiasm for life.
      see life (=experience a lot of different things): You really see life in my job.
  3. 3
    [countable/uncountable] the state of being alive
    He believed his life was in danger.
    claim lives (=kill people): The disease is still claiming thousands of lives every year.
    risk your life: They risk their lives to protect the people they love.
    put your/someone’s life at risk: They are putting lives at risk with their irresponsible behaviour.
    Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    [uncountable] living things such as plants and animals
    We are now beginning to believe that there may be life on other planets.
    animal/plant/insect/bird life: the great variety of bird life in the area
  5. 5
    [singular] the period of time during which something exists or continues
    life of: During the life of this government, unemployment has increased by 5%.
    1. a.
      the period of time during which something is still good enough to be used
      life of: The average life of a television is about ten years.
  6. 6
    [uncountable] the amount of activity or excitement in a place
    There’s not much life in this village.
  7. 7
    [countable] in a game, one of a number of times that you can lose but still continue to play
    lose a life: When you’ve lost three lives, you’re out.
  8. 8
    [uncountable] life imprisonment
    get life: You’d expect him to get life for such a serious crime.




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