Definition of alive in US English:



  • 1(of a person, animal, or plant) living, not dead.

    ‘hopes of finding anyone still alive were fading’
    ‘he was kept alive by a feeding-tube’
    • ‘Ensuring that the animals are worth more alive than dead may be their only shot at survival.’
    • ‘Now that the mouse is not alive, does its brain still work?’
    • ‘A look at the distribution of the major groups of plants and animals alive today is instructive.’
    • ‘It cannot be determined, however, whether those animals were alive or dead at the time of the bite.’
    • ‘Now, Mr. Gibbons' position is that all of those fossil species were alive at the same time on this planet.’
    • ‘It would make no difference to Frank whether the creature was alive or dead.’
    • ‘When the creature was alive, 94 million years ago, the area of the Sahara where its remains were found was very different from the way it appears now.’
    • ‘The dogs were still alive, and looked to be in their prime.’
    • ‘He took a small comfort in knowing that the horse was alive.’
    • ‘We know that the embryo is alive, not dead or inanimate.’
    • ‘There are thousands of animals and plants alive today that are no different from the way they appear in the fossil record!’
    • ‘Most of us would accept that the cat is either alive or dead at a given time.’
    • ‘A police spokesman said: ‘The news that his dog was alive and had come home seems to have made all the difference.’’
    • ‘‘His horses are alive and beautiful because they were in his soul,’ he once wrote.’
    • ‘Even when pigs are alive they aren't revered as the smartest animals.’
    • ‘I like to be reminded of the spring miracle, especially in the depth of winter, when the vibrantly alive trees look so dead.’
    • ‘Those lambs were still alive, but the ewes were dead.’
    • ‘Leonard Tinkler showed them sheds containing three dead animals, including a decomposing cow whose calf was still alive in the same pen.’
    • ‘I'd be happier if my house were still intact, my pictures of my kids and the rest of my belongings were safe, and my cat were still alive.’
    • ‘How could I be so callous when the poor creature was still alive?’
    living, live, having life, not dead
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    1. 1.1 Continuing in existence or use.
      ‘keeping hope alive’
      ‘militarism was kept alive by pure superstition’
      • ‘Nimba is seeking to keep the memory of Africa alive among immigrants from the continent.’
      • ‘Today, in Venezuela, the reputation generated by his work continues to keep his memory alive.’
      • ‘Sometimes I think the only thing that keeps the Tory party alive is continuing to write its suicide note.’
      • ‘Joe realises that younger people may find it difficult to realise why this sense of nostalgia is so important to him but he continues to try to keep the memory of bygone days alive.’
      • ‘By attacking Russia, he realigned the board so that France could expect greater benefits from keeping Italy alive than from continuing the alliance with Germany.’
      • ‘They kept his memory alive by continuing to cook up The Recipe.’
      • ‘The cultural text remains alive and continues to speak in a discourse of oppression.’
      • ‘Some girls even admit to enjoying the drama of keeping a story or incident alive by continuing to retell it, so it may never really be over.’
      • ‘When that happens, keep hope alive by continuing to expect the best - even if it doesn't pan out.’
      • ‘Though members argue that the Press Club remains alive, it currently has no physical location.’
      • ‘Teams want to help keep Joel's memory alive by continuing his work, and the response really has been something else.’
      • ‘Our forces do indeed continue to keep alive the flames of freedom in the world.’
      • ‘Despite all that I have outlined, it should be recognised that science is still very much alive and will continue to have an important role to play in society.’
      • ‘As we grow and numbers increase it's going to be a big challenge to keep this alive especially across continents.’
      • ‘Mary's charity and holocaust survivor organizations are both doing something to keep the memories alive.’
      • ‘Argentina also had a policy of encouraging settlers and descendants of Welsh emigrants to Patagonia continue to keep alive Welsh culture there to this day.’
      • ‘Head of the Agriculture society, Wendy Lee Yuen said it was imperative that the sugar industry continues to say alive in a globalised world.’
      • ‘And embodied in all of this, central to all of this, is a tradition that you keep alive, that you continue, that you believe in - the hunt.’
      • ‘He also hopes shoppers will keep Cheam alive by supporting the local economy in the face of growing development.’
      • ‘An intense research spirit is still alive, if not continentally disseminated.’
      active, existing, in existence, existent, extant, functioning, in operation, ongoing, going on, continuing, surviving, persisting, remaining, abiding
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  • 2(of a person or animal) alert and active; animated.

    ‘Ken comes alive when he hears his music played’
    • ‘Ken comes alive in a theatre situation, and his wit and intelligence are a refreshing change to the mundane stand-up acts as he makes you see life through new eyes.’
    • ‘The river is where much of Southeast Asia comes alive, so expect to see children frolicking, men cormorant fishing and women washing and cooking in the shallows.’
    • ‘Everyone comes alive as we start gathering up our stuff and the loadmasters stop to prepare to drop the ramp and unload our baggage palate.’
    • ‘On such a stark platform, it isn't until half a dozen songs in that the band really comes alive.’
    • ‘One actor in this film never comes alive, and the other seems too agonised and solemn for the role.’
    • ‘The director used to say, ‘Oh God, the minute she gets that gun, she comes alive.’’
    • ‘In such scenes the artiste's whole being comes alive as he pushes himself to get the maximum effect.’
    • ‘Inevitably, she only really comes alive for her raunchy dance number.’
    • ‘Brown comes alive as he talks of the Romantic poets and their exploration of what it means to be British.’
    • ‘Edmonton certainly comes alive in June, July and August: three fabulous months chocked full of festival and music happenings.’
    • ‘Billy comes alive and is able to relate meaningfully to others outside the town, in the surroundings of the moors and the sky.’
    • ‘Paradoxically, the librarian comes alive in his animated form.’
    • ‘Seconds later the Ballyduff support really came alive as Jack Kennedy put his side into the lead for the first time.’
    • ‘He can appear distant, but show him a beautifully made shoe and he comes alive.’
    • ‘He relaxes, and he comes alive - he turns on the charm.’
    • ‘Coetzee has obviously immersed himself in his adoptive hometown, and the city comes alive in all its banal, suburban Australianness.’
    • ‘Now, they have come alive, taken on familial roles and line up to fondle 20-day-old Mose.’
    • ‘The town of Rokewood, about 47 km south west of Ballarat, comes alive this weekend as the Annual Rodeo begins.’
    • ‘On stage he comes alive and places the audience under a spell; outside of it, he works fiercely with a number of charities and human rights organisations.’
    • ‘The actor really comes alive only when his character is victimizing.’
    animated, lively, full of life, alert, active, energetic, vigorous, spry, sprightly, vital, vibrant, vivacious, buoyant, exuberant, ebullient, zestful, spirited, enthusiastic, eager, bouncy, bubbly, perky, sparkling
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    1. 2.1 Having interest and meaning.
      ‘we hope we will make history come alive for the children’
      • ‘It was really interesting to watch the levels come alive as the team found better and smarter ways of doing things.’
      • ‘The screen comes alive when either the protagonist, or his worthy antagonist, are present.’
      • ‘But when you are perched high atop it all, the beauty really comes alive.’
      • ‘Open air, under a darkening Delhi sky, is an extraordinarily effective setting in which to watch 200 years of history come alive.’
      • ‘The weaving in her hands comes alive, binding into everything, coiling into the souls of men, tying the whole picture together.’
      • ‘And then you're writing, and after that it's just a matter of putting the words down in a way that makes the story come alive for someone else.’
      • ‘A wide range of subjects come alive on the canvas exhibited here.’
      • ‘Comedy only comes alive when it's performed so this was my apprenticeship.’
      • ‘Scotland, all of five million strong, comes alive through Sue.’
      • ‘It's the kind of thing you read in those psychology textbooks and it comes alive for you, doesn't it?’
      • ‘Paris comes alive in this writer's pages in highly personal ways.’
      • ‘It is a gifted novelist, indeed, who can make ordinary events come alive, and who can interest the reader in ordinary, even dull, characters.’
      • ‘The channel did, after all, make northern Jersey come alive.’
      • ‘Wildlife comes alive in the paintings of S. Vadivel.’
      • ‘The idea is that history should come alive for the pupils rather than them merely seeing or being told about things that happened from books.’
      • ‘What could have been an important but dry history lesson in lesser hands comes alive in this vibrant exploration of the Black Church in Canada.’
      • ‘Only then can a story, and the ghosts, come alive.’
      • ‘In a rural ambience, the games come alive again.’
      • ‘The parents who had come to visit the school were equally appreciative of the effort the staff had made to make the day come alive for the children.’
      • ‘Thanks to superior recording, the event comes alive in all its majesty, although watching such a performance on the TV is never the same as the real thing.’
  • 3alive toAware of and interested in; responsive to.

    ‘always alive to new ideas’
    • ‘As the players run onto the field, the stands come alive to the sound of cheers and support that echo across the river.’
    • ‘The Prime Minister is clearly alive to the danger of being seen as neglectful of his home front because he is too preoccupied with foreign affairs.’
    • ‘In foreign affairs we have pursued our national interest robustly while remaining alive to the needs and interests of others.’
    • ‘As I say, Angell resists sentimentality, but he is alive to sentiment.’
    • ‘She is also alive to the reality that a career in acting would be short-lived.’
    • ‘The nation is fully alive to the pressures that the world powers are exerting on his government’
    • ‘This is an important work: very well researched, reflective, sharp in judgment yet alive to complexity.’
    • ‘For the second year in a row the North East Kilkenny landscape came alive to the sound of all things vintage.’
    • ‘It is because of this style that the young boy Maqbool easily comes alive to us.’
    • ‘Her addiction, she says, is studying people, alive to the way they look and move, wondering how she would paint them.’
    • ‘Because of their slight outsiderishness they are alive to the social nuances in the American atmosphere.’
    • ‘At times he sounds like the great EB White, a gentle man consumed with the plight of the world but alive to the simple pleasures.’
    • ‘The respondent must have been alive to the possibility that a cyclist could come along.’
    • ‘He was socially conscious in every sense, alive to the possibilities of celebrating what he found.’
    • ‘Fortunately, for Dundee, Steven Tweed was alive to the danger and made a timely intervention to deny Parker a clear run on goal.’
    • ‘It is alive to the need for strong internal morale and discipline.’
    • ‘In your language, in your thought, be alive to the form of things.’
    • ‘As a journalist living in the most expensive city in the country, I am keenly alive to to the issue.’
    • ‘Clonaslee came alive to the sound of music on Sunday June 2 as the annual festival got under way.’
    • ‘He has brought the saga alive to visitors and locals alike.’
    alert to, awake to, aware of, sensitive to, conscious of, mindful of, heedful of, watchful of, responsive to
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  • 4alive withSwarming or teeming with.

    ‘in spring those cliffs are alive with auks and gulls’
    • ‘In many homes today kitchens and bathrooms are alive with chrome and stainless steel accessories.’
    • ‘The field was alive with activity as the many livestock contests took place.’
    • ‘The main street was alive with colour as the schoolchildren waved their flags and greeted the visitors.’
    • ‘At almost any time of the day, a casual stroll through these public areas will reveal them to be alive with activity.’
    • ‘It was spanned by a hump-back bridge leading to a jungle path alive with the orchestrated hum of insects.’
    • ‘This is a beautiful album and interesting concept, alive with energy and cultural diversity.’
    • ‘Few places are so alive with children smiling, laughing and throwing up in giant rotating teacups.’
    • ‘In his head, Stewart plunged down hurtling depths and into inky water alive with worms and bones.’
    • ‘Obscure slices of history and allegories abound and every spot comes alive with some parable or other.’
    • ‘Only a person who has recently moved could have an office not fully furnished but alive with an air of enthusiasm.’
    • ‘In the sunlight, the steel surface comes alive with reflections, picking up the green of the surrounding grass.’
    • ‘Some moments are startling; when you see one of their faces come alive with an emotion, you almost forget.’
    • ‘The massive bronze doors are alive with figures representing almost every facet of human experience and emotion.’
    • ‘The village was alive with colour and music - which continued into the early hours.’
    • ‘Shop windows are alive with colourful summer clothing and the summer holidays will be with us sooner than we can imagine.’
    • ‘The format of this book is alive with visuals and packed with persuasive language.’
    • ‘It's a dreary beach, too: no real surf and mounds of weed lie rotting and stinking, alive with flies.’
    • ‘The blackcurrant bush is alive with the wings and chirps of greedy blackbirds gorging themselves.’
    • ‘The huge screen in a corner came alive with live action straight from the South Korean capital, Seoul.’
    • ‘The town will be alive with an abundance of colour and plenty of entertainment for all the family.’
    teeming, swarming, thronged, overflowing, overrun, bristling, bustling, rife, infested, thick, crowded, packed
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  • alive and kicking

    • informal Prevalent and very active.

      ‘bigotry is still alive and kicking’
      • ‘This was late 1986, and Doolin's music scene was alive and kicking.’
      • ‘On the contrary, their availability in computer stores everywhere tells us that it remains alive and kicking.’
      • ‘People have been forecasting that for a long time and could I tell you they're still very much alive and kicking.’
      • ‘Post-revolution, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Romanian rugby was alive and kicking.’
      • ‘Not receiving any response to a knock on the door, the employee let himself in the room in an effort to determine if she was alive and kicking.’
      • ‘Windsurfers may be a dying breed in the United States, but the sport is alive and kicking on the Italian Riviera.’
      • ‘Democracy, we are invited to believe, is alive and kicking.’
      • ‘Laois were very much alive and kicking and all other pretenders to the crown sat up and took notice after a superb performance at O'Moore Park.’
      • ‘IT seems community spirit is alive and kicking in Swindon.’
      • ‘But the event proved in great style that British brewing is very much alive and kicking.’
      • ‘It needs a demonstration that it is alive and kicking.’
      • ‘The staff Christmas party is still alive and kicking, too.’
      • ‘All in all, Teddy Hall were deserving winners but with sailing at all levels of the University alive and kicking, they'll have to fight to keep the cup next year.’
      • ‘The nurse simply laughed at this, observing that I was indeed alive and kicking, and simply moved on to the next passenger.’
      • ‘In the desolate reaches of Africa, the real thrill of hunting a leopard and an elephant is alive and kicking.’
      • ‘Now in his 60s, Clough is very much alive and kicking, as alert and acerbic as ever, and still with a myriad of views to express on any subject you care to mention.’
      • ‘The message appeared to be clear: in 2004, racial tension in Australia was alive and kicking.’
      • ‘History was alive and kicking on Saturday when around 100 people brought their archaeological finds to Westbury Visitor Centre.’
      • ‘Neither can he recall the age of his mother's mother who is still alive and kicking in Christchurch today at the grand age of 77 or 78.’
      • ‘Already, despite a hefty 40 per cent tariff, foreign competition is alive and kicking.’
      living, live, having life, not dead
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  • alive and well

    • Still existing or active (often used to deny rumors or beliefs that something has disappeared or declined)

      ‘Jefferson's ideas are alive and well today in Washington’
      • ‘It is encouraging to see that Saskatchewan's progressive tradition is alive and well.’
      • ‘The sex industry is alive and well, and nothing anyone has done has managed to change that.’
      • ‘Police called off an intensive search after a woman missing from Warminster was found alive and well in Somerset.’
      • ‘Calgary's first beer festival is not only alive and well, but getting bigger and better.’
      • ‘But her family in Bonnybridge confirmed last week that she was alive and well.’
      • ‘But in one of the few good news stories to emerge from the tragedy, the couple were later found to be alive and well.’
      • ‘This case clearly demonstrates that the legal fiction is alive and well today.’
      • ‘He may have disappeared from British politics, but the former Prime Minister is alive and well and ruling Australia.’
      • ‘Forget the market reaction to the interim banking profits so far, the industry is alive and well.’
      • ‘It is alive and well in today's Glasgow via the services of the Catholic Church.’
      • ‘Apparently the law of unintended consequences is alive and well in the pawn industry.’
      • ‘Heritage in Abbeyleix is alive and well and Abbeyleix Heritage House is now in a safe pair of hands.’
      • ‘Democracy is alive and well in Canada as thousands were able to express their opposition to this policy.’
      • ‘It's nice to know that street entertainment is alive and well in York.’
      • ‘Missing student Vicky Stephenson was today found alive and well in Dublin.’
      • ‘After almost disappearing from the linguistic map, Galician is now alive and well.’
      • ‘Contrary to popular belief, the commercial sex scene is alive and well in Singapore.’
      • ‘I would like to think that that spirit is still alive and well in the company today.’
      • ‘Is this something I could live without and still remain alive and well?’
      • ‘The trend from the extreme left to extreme right, so obvious today, was alive and well then.’


Old English on līfe, literally ‘in life’.