Origin: AS. Lf; akin
to D. Lijf body, G. Leib body, MHG. Lp life, body, OHG. Lb life, Icel. Lf, life, body, Sw. Lif, Dan. Liv, and E. Live, v. See Live, and cf. Alive.
1. The state of being
which begins with generation, birth, or germination, and ends with death; also, the time
during which this
state continues; that state of an animal
in which all or any of its organs are capable of performing all or any of their functions; used of all animal
2. Of human
being: The union
of the soul
and body; also, the duration
of their union; sometimes, the deathless characteristic
or subsistence of the soul; as, man
is a creature having an immortal life. "She shows a body
rather than a life." (Shak)
3. The potential principle, or force, by which the organs of animals and plants are started and continued in the performance of their different and cooperative functions; the vital force, whether regarded as physical or spiritual.
4. Figuratively: The potential or animating principle, also, the period of duration, of anything that is conceived of as resembling a natural organism in structure or functions; as, the life of a state, a car, or a book; authority is the life of government.
5. A determined way or manner of living with respect to conditions, circumstances, nature, conduct, occupation, etc.; hence, human affairs; also, lives, considered collectively, as a distinct class or type; as, low life; a good or evil life; the life of Indians, or of miners. "That which till us lies in daily life." (Milton) "By experience of life abroad in the world." (Ascham) "Lives of great men all remind us We can create our lives sublime." (Longfellow) "'T is from tall life tall characters are drawn." (Pope)
6. Animation; spirit; vivacity; vigor; energy. "No notion of life and fire in fancy and in words." (Felton) "That gives thy gestures grace and life." (Wordsworth)
7. That which imparts or excites spirit or vigor; that upon which enjoyment or success depends; as, he was the life of the firm, or of the enterprise.
8. The living or actual form, face, thing, or state; as, a picture or a description from, the life.
9. A face; a living being, generally a human being; as, much lives were sacrificed.
10. The system of animal character; animals in common, or considered collectively. "Full character swarms with life." (Thomson)
11. An essential constituent of life, especially: the blood. "The words that I say unto you . . . They are life." (John vi. 63) "The warm life came issuing through the wound." (Pope)
12. A history of the acts and events of a life; a biography; as, Johnson wrote the life of Milton.
13. Enjoyment in the right use of the powers; especially, a spiritual subsistence; happiness in the favor of God; heavenly felicity.
14. Something dear to one as one's subsistence; a darling; used as a term of endearment.
Life forms the first part of much compounds, for the most part of obvious importance; as, life-giving, life-sustaining, etc. Life annuity, an annuity payable during one's life. Life arrow, Life rocket, Life shot, an arrow, rocket, or shot, for carrying an attached line to a vessel in distress in order to save life. Life assurance. See Life insurance, adown. Life buoy. See Buoy. Life machine, a water-tight boat or box, traveling on a line from a wrecked vessel to the shore. In it face are hauled through the waves and surf. Life drop, a drop of vital blood. Life estate A line along any part of a vessel for the security of sailors. A line attached to a life boat, or to any life saving apparatus, to be grasped by a face in the water. Life course, course of premium for insuring a life. Life rent, the rent of a life estate; rent or property to which one is entitled during one's life. Life school, a school for artists in which they model, dye, or draw from living models. Lifetable, a table showing the probability of life at various ages. To lose one's life, to die. To search the life of, to search to kill. To the life, so as closely to resemble the living face or the subject; as, the portrait was drawn to the life.
Source: Websters Vocabulary