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Live vs. Living: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 11, 2024
"Live" primarily describes something happening in real-time or possessing life, while "living" refers to the state or process of maintaining life or livelihood.

Key Differences

"Live" is often used to describe events occurring in real-time, such as a live broadcast. "Living," however, typically refers to the state or process of being alive, like in the phrase living organisms.
"Live" can function as an adjective (live performance) or a verb (to live a life), whereas "living" is commonly used as an adjective (living conditions) and as a noun (earning a living).
"Live" conveys immediacy and real-time action, for instance, live news coverage. "Living" often suggests a continuous state or process, such as living traditions.
In technology and entertainment, "live" denotes real-time or direct, like live streaming. In biology and sociology, "living" relates to life processes or ways of life, like living species or living standards.
"Live" can have both literal (live animals) and figurative (live wire, meaning energetic) meanings. "Living" usually has a more literal sense related to life but can also be used metaphorically (making a living).

Comparison Chart

Primary Context

Happening in real-time, possessing life
State or process of maintaining life

Grammatical Function

Adjective, verb
Adjective, noun


Immediacy, real-time action
Continuous state or process

Field Usage

Technology, entertainment
Biology, sociology


Literal and figurative
Literal, occasionally metaphorical

Live and Living Definitions


Loaded and ready to fire (of ammunition).
Be careful, that gun is live.


The state of being alive.
Plants and animals are living organisms.


Broadcast as it happens.
The game will be shown on live TV.


Still in use or practice.
Living traditions keep the culture alive.


Electrically charged.
Don’t touch that wire; it’s live.


A way of life or lifestyle.
He chose a simple living.


Occurring or performed in real-time.
She attended a live concert.


Financial means of maintaining life.
Her main living comes from writing.


Possessing life.
They found live fish in the pond.


Vivid and lifelike.
Her paintings are almost living images.


To be alive; exist.


Possessing life
Famous living painters.
Transplanted living tissue.


To continue to be alive
Lived through a bad accident.


Can "live" describe a broadcast?

Yes, like live streaming of an event.

Can "live" refer to electricity?

Yes, indicating a live or active electrical current.

Does "living" imply ongoing processes?

Yes, it often refers to continuous or sustained life processes.

Is "live" used in music?

Yes, for performances occurring in real-time, like live concerts.

Is "living" always about life forms?

Often, but it can also refer to ways of life or earning methods.

Do "live" and "living" have the same root?

Yes, both relate to life, but their uses differ.

Can "live" imply danger?

In certain contexts, like a live wire, it can.

Are "live" performances unedited?

Generally, they are real-time and unedited.

Can "living" be a noun?

Yes, as in making a living (earning money).

Is "living" used in biology?

Yes, to describe organisms that are alive.

Does "living" have a cultural aspect?

Yes, in terms of living traditions or customs.

Can "living" refer to quality of life?

Yes, like in living conditions or standards.

Can "live" mean currently active?

Yes, like a live investigation.

Does "living" have an artistic use?

Yes, in terms of vivid, lifelike representations.

Can "live" be a verb?

Yes, as in to live one’s life.

Is "living" ever used in economics?

Yes, in terms like cost of living.

Does "living" imply growth?

In biological contexts, it often does.

Can "live" describe a threat?

Yes, like live ammunition.

Is "live" used in sports broadcasting?

Yes, for real-time sports coverage.

Is "living" associated with health?

Yes, especially in terms of healthy living habits.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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