from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Means of support; subsistence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. liveliness; appearance of life

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Subsistence or living, as dependent on some means of support; the means for support of life; maintenance.
  • n. Liveliness; appearance of life.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Liveliness; cheerfulness.
  • n. Way of life; living; means of maintaining life; support of life; maintenance; the occupation which furnishes means of support.
  • n. Synonyms Support, Subsistence, etc. See living.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the financial means whereby one lives


Middle English livelyhed, alteration (influenced by liflihed, liveliness, energy, vigor) of livelode, from Old English līflād : līf, life; see life + lād, course.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English liflode, from Old English līflād ("course of life, conduct"), from līf (“life”) +‎ lād (“course, journey”), later altered under the influence of lively, -hood. More at life, lode. (Wiktionary)



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  • Not, in its principal sense, a compound of either 'lively' or the suffix '-head'. It's 'life' + the word giving modern English 'load', 'lode': thus meaning "provisions for life".

    In the 1500s a transparent homophone meaning "liveliness" was created.

    September 8, 2009

  • A crook on ritalin. --from Wiley's Dictionary, B.C. comic strip.

    August 11, 2007