Life vs. Live: What's the Difference?
By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on November 17, 2023
"Life" refers to existence, living, or lifespan. "Live" is the act of existing with vitality or broadcasting in real-time.
"Life" is a noun, denoting the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. "Live," an adjective or verb, relates to all things directly involving the immediate, original, or actual performance or events (as in a live broadcast) or to reside (as in to live in a place).
"Life" encompasses the experiences, stages, and existential nature of beings, creating a narrative of one's existence from birth to death. "Live" implies something occurring in real-time, such as a live show, or describes the state of living or existing.
In discussing "life," we delve into philosophical, biological, and existential themes, contemplating the essence, meaning, and quality of existence. In contrast, "live" can signify the immediacy or currentness of an action or event, often used to convey a sense of excitement, urgency, or authenticity.
The word "life" serves to express the totality of experiences and processes that form the existence of an individual or organism. "Live," on the other hand, can denote a state of active existence or be used to describe events broadcasted or performed without prior recording.
"Life" can symbolize longevity, legacy, and the human experience, often stimulating deep reflection or inquiry. "Live," however, communicates immediacy, presence, and direct engagement, whether in performance, broadcast, or one's place of residence.
Part of Speech
Existence of an individual or organism.
To exist or be carried out in real time.
Refers to being in existence or the experience of existence.
Pertains to immediate, ongoing events or residing somewhere.
Describes the existence or essence of a being.
Indicates something happening now or existing.
Subject or object in a sentence.
Action or descriptor in a sentence.
Life and Live Definitions
The existence of an individual human being or animal.
Every life has intrinsic value.
To remain alive or have life.
We live in a complex world.
The period between the birth and death of a living thing.
She had a long, happy life.
To inhabit a place or environment.
They live in California.
A biography or the true experiences of a person.
He wrote a book about his life.
Being alive or having life.
The accident survivor is lucky to be live.
The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.
Broadcast or performed at the time of occurrence.
The concert was broadcast live.
The characteristic state or condition of a living organism.
To be alive; exist.
Living organisms considered as a group
To continue to be alive
Lived through a bad accident.
A living being, especially a person
An earthquake that claimed hundreds of lives.
To support oneself; subsist
Living on rice and fish.
Lives on a small inheritance.
The physical, mental, and spiritual experiences that constitute existence
The artistic life of a writer.
To reside; dwell
Lives on a farm.
The interval of time between birth and death
She led a good, long life.
To conduct one's life in a particular manner
The interval of time between one's birth and the present
Has had hay fever all his life.
To pursue a positive, satisfying existence; enjoy life
Those who truly live.
A particular segment of one's life
My adolescent life.
To remain in human memory
An event that lives on in our minds.
The period from an occurrence until death
Elected for life.
Paralyzed for life.
To spend or pass (one's life).
(Slang) A sentence of imprisonment lasting till death.
To go through; experience
Lived a nightmare.
The time for which something exists or functions
The useful life of a car.
To practice in one's life
Live one's beliefs.
A spiritual state regarded as a transcending of corporeal death.
Having life; alive
An account of a person's life; a biography.
Of, related to, or occurring during the life of one that is living
A live birth.
The live weight of an animal before being slaughtered.
Human existence, relationships, or activity in general
Of current interest or relevance
A live topic.
Still a live option.
A manner of living
Led a hard life.
(Informal) Full of life, excitement, or activity; lively
A live crowd at the parade.
A live party.
A specific, characteristic manner of existence. Used of inanimate objects
“Great institutions seem to have a life of their own, independent of those who run them” (New Republic).
The activities and interests of a particular area or realm
Musical life in New York.
Not yet exploded but capable of being fired
A source of vitality; an animating force
She's the life of the show.
(Electricity) Carrying an electric current or energized with electricity
Live cables lying dangerously on the ground.
Liveliness or vitality; animation
A face that is full of life.
Not mined or quarried; in the natural state
Something that actually exists regarded as a subject for an artist
Painted from life.
Broadcast while actually being performed; not taped, filmed, or recorded
A live television program.
Actual environment or reality; nature.
Involving performers or spectators who are physically present
A live audience.
Of or relating to animate existence; involved in or necessary for living
Of, relating to, or containing living bacteria or active viruses, sometimes in an attenuated form
Live yogurt cultures.
A live measles vaccine.
Continuing for a lifetime; lifelong
(Printing) Not yet set into type
Using a living model as a subject for an artist
A life sculpture.
(Sports) In play
A live ball.
(uncountable) The state of organisms preceding their death, characterized by biological processes such as metabolism and reproduction and distinguishing them from inanimate objects; the state of being alive and living.
Having experienced both, the vampire decided that he preferred (un)death to life.
He gave up on life.
At, during, or from the time of actual occurrence or performance
The landing on the moon was telecast live.
(biology) The status possessed by any of a number of entities, including animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and sometimes viruses, which have the properties of replication and metabolism.
(intransitive) To be alive; to have life.
He's not expected to live for more than a few months.
The animating principle or force that keeps an inorganic thing or concept metaphorically alive (dynamic, relevant, etc) and makes it a "living document", "living constitution", etc.
(intransitive) To have permanent residence somewhere, to inhabit, to reside.
I live at 2a Acacia Avenue.
He lives in LA, but he's staying here over the summer.
Lifeforms, generally or collectively.
It's life, but not as we know it.
She discovered plant life on the planet.
The rover discovered signs of life on the alien world.
(of an object) to have its proper place; to normally be stored.
I washed your gravy boat. Where does it live?
(countable) A living individual; the fact of a particular individual being alive. Chiefly when indicating individuals were lost (died) or saved.
Many lives were lost during the war.
Her quick thinking saved many dogs' lives.
(intransitive) To survive; to persevere; to continue.
Man's life on this planet has been marked by continual conflict.
The eternal life of the soul
(intransitive) To endure in memory; to escape oblivion.
Her memory lives in that song.
A worthwhile existence.
He gets up early in the morning, works all day long — even on weekends — and hardly sees his family. That's no life!
His life was ruined by drugs.
You'll just have to live with it!
I can't live in a world without you.
A particular aspect of existence.
He struggled to balance his family life, social life and work life.
Sex life, political life
(intransitive) To pass life in a specified manner.
It is difficult to live in poverty.
And they lived happily ever after.
(informal) Social life.
Get a life.
(transitive) To spend, as one's life; to pass; to maintain; to continue in, constantly or habitually.
To live an idle or a useful life.
Something which is inherently part of a person's existence, such as job, family, a loved one, etc.
She's my love, my life.
Running the bakery is her life.
(transitive) To act habitually in conformity with; to practice; to exemplify in one's way of life.
A period of time during which something has existence.
To live as; to live being.
The period during which one (a person, an animal, a plant; a civilization, species; a star; etc) is alive.
(intransitive) To outlast danger; to float (said of a ship, boat, etc).
No ship could live in such a storm.
The span of time during which an object operates.
This light bulb is designed to have a life of 2,000 hours.
To maintain or support one's existence; to provide for oneself; to feed; to subsist.
It is hard to live on the minimum wage.
They lived on stale bread.
Man shall not live by bread alone.
The period of time during which an object is recognizable.
The life of this milk carton may be thousands of years in this landfill.
To make the most of life; to experience a full, rich life.
I'm sick of spending every day studying at home: I want to go out there and live!
A particular phase or period of existence.
(only used attributively) Having life; that is alive.
The post office will not ship live animals.
A period extending from a when a (positive or negative) office, punishment, etc is conferred on someone until that person dies (or, sometimes, reaches retirement age).
Being in existence; actual.
He is a live example of the consequences of excessive drinking.
Animation; spirit; vivacity.
Having active properties; being energized.
Because the vaccinia virus is live, it is important to follow care instructions for the vaccination site.
The most lively component or participant.
Operational; in actual use rather than in testing etc.
His life of the founder is finished, except for the title.
(programming) Of an object or value: that may potentially be used in the future execution of a program.
Nature, reality, and the forms that exist in it.
Taken from a living animal.
An opportunity for existence.
(engineering) Imparting power; having motion.
The live spindle of a lathe
A live, or driving, axle
(video games) One of the player's chances to play, lost when the player's character dies or when certain mistakes are made.
Scoring 1000 points is rewarded with an extra life.
(sports) Still in active play.
A live ball
A chance for the batter (or batting team) to bat again, given as a result of an misplay by a member of the fielding team.
(card games) Of a card: not yet dealt or played.
One of a player's chances to play in various children's playground games, lost when a mistake is made, for example being struck by the ball in dodgeball.
(broadcasting) Being broadcast ("on the air"), as it happens.
The station presented a live news program every evening.
Are we live?
The life insurance industry.
I work in life.
(of a performance or speech) In person.
This nightclub has a live band on weekends.
(countable) A life assured under a life assurance policy (equivalent to the policy itself for a single life contract).
Recorded from a performance in front of an audience.
A live album
(aviation) To replace components whose operational lifetime has expired.
Of firearms or explosives, capable of causing harm.
The air force practices dropping live bombs on the uninhabited island.
(obsolete) God's life
Of an environment where sound is recorded: having noticeable reverberation.
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 or plant in which all or any of its organs are capable of performing all or any of their functions; - used of all animal and vegetable organisms.
(circuitry) Electrically charged or energized, usually indicating that the item may cause electrocution if touched.
Use caution when working near live wires.
Of human beings: The union of the soul and body; also, the duration of their union; sometimes, the deathless quality or existence of the soul; as, man is a creature having an immortal life.
She shows a body rather than a life.
(poker) Being a bet which can be raised by the bettor, usually in reference to a blind or straddle.
Tommy's blind was live, so he was given the option to raise.
The potential principle, or force, by which the organs of animals and plants are started and continued in the performance of their several and coöperative functions; the vital force, whether regarded as physical or spiritual.
(film) Featuring humans; not animated, in the phrases “live actors” or “live action”.
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 machine, or a book; authority is the life of government.
Being in a state of ignition; burning.
A live coal; live embers
A certain way or manner of living with respect to conditions, circumstances, character, 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 before us lies in daily life.
By experience of life abroad in the world.
Lives of great men all remind usWe can make our lives sublime.
'T is from high life high characters are drawn.
(obsolete) Vivid; bright.
Animation; spirit; vivacity; vigor; energy.
No notion of life and fire in fancy and in words.
That gives thy gestures grace and life.
That which imparts or excites spirit or vigor; that upon which enjoyment or success depends; as, he was the life of the company, or of the enterprise.
(dated) Energetic, attentive, active.
A live man, or orator
The living or actual form, person, thing, or state; as, a picture or a description from, the life.
Outstanding, top-notch, exhilarating.
A person; a living being, usually a human being; as, many lives were sacrificed.
Of an event, as it happens; in real time; direct.
The concert was broadcast live by radio.
The system of animal nature; animals in general, or considered collectively.
Full nature swarms with life.
Of making a performance or speech, in person.
He'll be appearing live at the auditorium.
An essential constituent of life, esp: the blood.
The words that I speak unto you . . . they are life.
The warm life came issuing through the wound.
To be alive; to have life; to have, as an animal or a plant, the capacity of assimilating matter as food, and to be dependent on such assimilation for a continuance of existence; as, animals and plants that live to a great age are long in reaching maturity.
Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will . . . lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live.
A history of the acts and events of a life; a biography; as, Johnson wrote the life of Milton.
To pass one's time; to pass life or time in a certain manner, as to habits, conduct, or circumstances; as, to live in ease or affluence; to live happily or usefully.
O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions!
Enjoyment in the right use of the powers; especially, a spiritual existence; happiness in the favor of God; heavenly felicity.
To make one's abiding place or home; to abide; to dwell; to reside; as, to live in a cottage by the sea.
Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years.
Something dear to one as one's existence; a darling; - used as a term of endearment.
To be or continue in existence; to exist; to remain; to be permanent; to last; - said of inanimate objects, ideas, etc.
Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtuesWe write in water.
A characteristic state or mode of living;
To enjoy or make the most of life; to be in a state of happiness; as, people want not just to exist, but to live.
What greater curse could envious fortune giveThan just to die when I began to live?
The course of existence of an individual; the actions and events that occur in living;
He hoped for a new life in Australia
He wanted to live his own life without interference from others
To feed; to subsist; to be nourished or supported; - with on; as, horses live on grass and grain.
The experience of living; the course of human events and activities;
He could no longer cope with the complexities of life
To have a spiritual existence; to be quickened, nourished, and actuated by divine influence or faith.
The just shall live by faith.
The condition of living or the state of being alive;
While there's life there's hope
Life depends on many chemical and physical processes
To be maintained in life; to acquire a livelihood; to subsist; - with on or by; as, to live on spoils.
Those who live by labor.
The period during which something is functional (as between birth and death);
The battery had a short life
He lived a long and happy life
To outlast danger; to float; - said of a ship, boat, etc.; as, no ship could live in such a storm.
A strong mast that lived upon the sea.
The period between birth and the present time;
I have known him all his life
To spend, as one's life; to pass; to maintain; to continue in, constantly or habitually; as, to live an idle or a useful life.
Animation and energy in action or expression;
It was a heavy play and the actors tried in vain to give life to it
To act habitually in conformity with; to practice.
To live the Gospel.
An account of the series of events making up a person's life
Having life; alive; living; not dead.
If one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it.
The period from the present until death;
He appointed himself emperor for life
Being in a state of ignition; burning; having active properties; as, a live coal; live embers.
A living person;
His heroism saved a life
Full of earnestness; active; wide awake; glowing; as, a live man, or orator.
Living things collectively;
The oceans are teeming with life
A motive for living;
Pottery was his life
Imparting power; having motion; as, the live spindle of a lathe; live steam.
The organic phenomenon that distinguishes living organisms from nonliving ones;
There is no life on the moon
Connected to a voltage source; as, a live wire.
A prison term lasting as long as the prisoner lives;
He got life for killing the guard
Being transmitted instantaneously, as events occur, in contrast to recorded.
The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter.
Life thrives in diverse forms on Earth.
Still in active play; - of a ball being used in a game; as, a live ball.
Vitality, vigor, or energy.
He's full of life.
Pertaining to an entertainment event which was performed (and possibly recorded) in front of an audience; contrasted to performances recorded in a studio without an audience.
Make one's home or live in;
She resides officially in Iceland
I live in a 200-year old house
These people inhabited all the islands that are now deserted
The plains are sparsely populated
Lead a certain kind of life; live in a certain style;
We had to live frugally after the war
Continue to live; endure or last;
We went without water and food for 3 days
These superstitions survive in the backwaters of America
The racecar driver lived through several very serious accidents
He could barely exist on such a low wage
Can you live on $2000 a month in New York City?
Many people in the world have to subsist on $1 a day
Have life, be alive;
Our great leader is no more
My grandfather lived until the end of war
Have firsthand knowledge of states, situations, emotions, or sensations;
I know the feeling!
Have you ever known hunger?
I have lived a kind of hell when I was a drug addict
The holocaust survivors have lived a nightmare
I lived through two divorces
Pursue a positive and satisfying existence;
You must accept yourself and others if you really want to live
Actually being performed at the time of hearing or viewing;
A live television program
Brought to you live from Lincoln Center
Live entertainment involves performers actually in the physical presence of a live audience
Showing characteristics of life; exerting force or containing energy;
Tossed a live cigarette out the window
Got a shock from a live wire
Live ore is unmined ore
A live bomb
A live ball is one in play
A live concert hall
Charged with an explosive;
A live bomb
Clean bouncy hair
A lively tennis ball
As resiliant as seasoned hickory
Abounding with life and energy;
The club members are a really live bunch
In current use or ready for use;
Live copy is ready to be set in type or already set but not yet proofread
Of current relevance;
A live issue
Still a live option
Charged or energized with electricity;
A hot wire
A live wire
A live canary
Hit a live nerve
Famous living painters
Capable of erupting;
A live volcano
The volcano is very much alive
The opera was broadcast live
To experience life in a particular way.
She lives without any regrets.
What does "live" mean in broadcasting?
It means the broadcast is happening in real time, not recorded.
Are "life" and "live" interchangeable?
No, "life" is a noun, while "live" can be an adjective or verb with different meanings.
Can "live" mean "alive"?
Yes, as an adjective, it means something is living or not recorded.
Does "life" only refer to human existence?
No, it refers to the existence of any living organism.
Can "life" refer to the lifespan of anything?
Typically, it refers to living organisms, not inanimate objects.
What's the verb form of "life"?
"Life" doesn't have a verb form. "Live" is the verb, as in "to live."
Can "life" be used metaphorically?
Yes, e.g., "the life of the party."
Does "live" imply real-time events?
Yes, especially in performances or broadcasts.
Can "life" denote energy or spirit?
Yes, in contexts like "full of life."
What does "quality of life" mean?
It refers to the general well-being of individuals or societies.
Can "live" refer to residing somewhere?
Yes, it can mean to inhabit or dwell.
What does "live wire" mean?
It can mean an energetic person or an electrified wire.
What does "live off" something mean?
It means to use something as a source of sustenance.
Is "live" used for animals?
Yes, in the context of them being alive or in their natural habitat.
Can "life" refer to a way of living?
Yes, as in "a life of luxury."
Is "life" ever a verb?
No, "life" is always a noun.
What does "live up to" something mean?
It means to meet an expected standard.
Does "life" only concern physical existence?
No, it can also refer to spiritual or conceptual existence.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.