Definition of lifer in English:



  • 1informal A person serving a life sentence.

    • ‘Life sentence prisoners in England and Wales fall into two categories: mandatory lifers and discretionary lifers.’
    • ‘At that time there was a lifer population of some 5200 prisoners, of whom over 3700 were mandatory lifers, in prisons in England and Wales.’
    • ‘The place had a feel of wandering round a high security prison full of psychopathic lifers doing solitary.’
    • ‘I meet adult prisoners, including lifers, every day in education and we all take the same classes.’
    • ‘We estimate his proposals will double the number of lifers in our prisons, which will increase the huge overcrowding problem.’
    • ‘The diversity of designs would make the prison tattoos of a lifer in a Russian jail look as if he didn't have much time on his hands.’
    • ‘Mandatory lifers who have not yet had a tariff fixed will now have to wait until the new legislation is in place to have their tariffs judicially set.’
    • ‘Glenochil numbers 80 lifers among its 500 inmates, but it seems this is less daunting than governing under ‘the white hot glare of the media’.’
    • ‘Before most lifers die in prison, they grow old, get sick, and must be cared for.’
    • ‘This list is made up of other designated dangerous offenders, lifers, hostage takers and others who might be likely to harm the staff or attempt escape.’
    • ‘I say we use the chain gang system for lifers, and only lifers.’
    • ‘It reports that the lifer population in U.S. prisons has more than tripled in the past two decades.’
    • ‘One long-term lifer, a woman in fact, told me once that she never met a lifer in her time in prison who didn't approve of capital punishment.’
    • ‘When I last had statistics, there were 3,600 lifers in our prisons.’
    • ‘You will be treated as a discretionary lifer.’
    • ‘The fact that a decision to change the category of a lifer has not been made does not prevent the prisoner being moved.’
    • ‘Nearly half the inmates here are lifers with little gain to gain from cooperating with investigators.’
    • ‘For discretionary lifers this minimum period is known as the ' relevant part ' of the sentence.’
    • ‘Category A prisoners or lifers at Horfield Prison in Bristol are only allowed one two-hour visit each fortnight and so far she has been the only person to see him in jail.’
    • ‘To reach the threshold of exceptional progress there would also need to be some extra element to show that the lifer had done good works for the benefit of others.’
    prisoner, inmate
    View synonyms
  • 2North American A person who spends their life in a particular career, especially in one of the armed forces.

    • ‘A career soldier in a family of military lifers, Dallaire was appointed to head the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Rwanda in June 1993.’
    • ‘The rest of us are just sort of lifer musician-types.’
    • ‘He's one of those baseball lifers constantly pitching for his next paycheck.’
    • ‘A fire department captain, a lifer who would do 33 years before retiring to a Florida golf course, he used days off to tee it up.’
    • ‘Most of the lifers think that the military lacks discipline and blame the new ‘Nintendo generation’ soldiers for the weakness.’
    • ‘The press, the political community, the inside-the-Beltway lifers - they prefer a rich display of details, a bit of nuance, and some wit.’
    • ‘He has been called a basketball lifer not because he has spent his whole life in the game, but because the game is such a big part of life.’
    • ‘His career as a Colgate lifer illustrates the company's determination to constantly strengthen its management bench through a combination of global job opportunities and personal development.’
    • ‘He is a baseball lifer who enjoys the mental challenge of catching.’