Dictionary » L » Life



noun, plural: lives

(1) A distinctive characteristic of a living organism from dead organism or non-living thing, as specifically distinguished by the capacity to grow, metabolize, respond (to stimuli), adapt, and reproduce

(2) The biota of a particular region


There is no consensus regarding the answer to the question as to when does life begin. Does it begin at the time of fertilization or the time before or after that? The origin of life is also contestable. Despite of the irresolute answer for questions about life, the basic characteristics of a living thing are as follows:

  • with an organized structure performing a specific function
  • with an ability to sustain existence, e.g. by nourishment
  • with an ability to respond to stimuli or to its environment
  • capable of adapting
  • with an ability to germinate or reproduce

Word origin: Old English līf (life, body) Related term(s):

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