life - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the period of time from someone’s 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.

     Synonyms and related words
    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.