Middle English Dictionary Entry

liven v.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To be alive, continue to live, survive; also, be alive spiritually; (b) ~ longe, to live for a long time; ~ leng (lengere, longere), live longer, live longer than someone else; ~ litel whil, live a short time; ~ to elde, live to old age; ~ yeres fele, live many years; (c) to live (a specified length of time); (d) to live (forever); ~ ai (echeliche, ever, ever-mo, ever-mor, o), ~ for ever (for ever-mor, lives ende, on echenesse, withouten ende), etc.; (e) al that ~, tho that ~, all living things; ani man that live, any man that may live, any man at all; he liveth not, is no lede that liveth, there is no man; non man the tho livede, no man who lived then; no mannes pouer that liveth, no man's power; the foulest womman that liveth, the ugliest woman that lives, the ugliest woman on earth; the heighest that mighte ~, the noblest man of all; who-so-liveth, whoever lives, any man.
In common phrases & clauses: (a) ~ lif, to live (one's) life, live; also, live (in a certain way or a certain condition), live (a certain kind of) life; ~ daies, ~ lif-daies, live (one's) life; (b) ~ or dien (sterven), dien or ~, ~ other lien, to live or die; ~ and dien, ~ ne sterven, slen and ~, ther liveden mo than dieden; (c) leten ~, to let (sb.) live, spare the life of (sb.); (d) the whil men liveden, as long as men lived, for all time; the whil the ich live, whiles that ich live, whilest ich live, while I live, as long as I live; ther-whiles that thou livest, ther-whil that he liveth, whiles thei liven; whil (that) he livede, while he lived, as long as he lived; whil he liveden, as long as they lived; etc.; (e) as longe as i live (he liveth, ye liven), as long as I live (he lives, you live); as longe as he (ye) livede, as long as he (you) lived, all his (your) life; (f) ~ to sen, to live to see (sb.); ~ to heren, live to hear (of sth.).
(a) Of things or abstractions: to last, endure; be, exist; ~ ayen, live again, come back to life; (b) of things: to be conscious; (c) of one's spirit: to revive, regain consciousness.
(a) To dwell (in a place); live (in water); dwell (at home); (b) ~ in (on) erthe (this world), ~ in lond (lede), ~ on (upon) molde, ~ on this middel-erd, ~ in world (al this worldes regioun), to live on earth, be alive; (c) ~ bi, to live in (the air), reside near (a well); be close to (the ground) rather than upright; ~ biforen, be in the presence of (sb., someone's face); ~ under, live under (God, Christ, the throne of God, the sun, moon, stars), live or exist (anywhere); be or live under (the ground); ~ under sheld, be under (one's shield) -- empty tag; (d) ~ in, to dwell or be in (sb., someone's heart); (e) ~ with (mid), to dwell with (sb.); ~ bi, live by (oneself), live alone; ~ togeder(es, dwell together.
(a) To live (in a state or condition); ~ in (i, on, at, a, mid); (b) ~ in flesh and bon, ~ on bon and blod, to live in the flesh, live the earthly life; ~ on lif, live a life; also, be alive, live; (c) ~ i clennesse (maithhod), ~ on maidenhod, to live a celibate life; ~ in fightes, be in battles, participate in fighting; ~ i fleshes lustes, live in carnal lusts; ~ i god lif, live a righteous life; ~ in sinne (wikkednesse), live in sin (wickedness); ~ withouten lif (herte), live without life (a heart); ~ withouten (out of) wo, live free from woe.
To live (in a certain manner): (a) with adv.; ~ ethe, to live more at ease, live better; (b) with adj.; ~ chaste, to remain chaste; ~ weri, grow weary of living; ~ young, remain youthful; (c) with phrase or clause.
(a) To conduct oneself (according to laws, a religion, a rule, teachings, a will or purpose, etc.); ~ after (bi, in, under, upon); (b) to live (according to, or for the sake of, the flesh, the spirit, one's desires or pleasures, etc.); ~ after (bi, in, to, up, upon); ~ bi that he laghte, fare according to what she caught (i.e., her pregnancy); (c) ~ after (bi, in, to, up, under), to live for (sb.), live under the power or control of (sb.); ~ after, live in the manner of (sb.) [quot.: ?c1430].
To live as (sth.), be or continue to be (a maid, a sot, etc.).
(a) To feed (on sth.); also fig.; ~ bi (in, of, thurgh, with), eat (sth.) in order to live; sustain life, or spiritual life, with (sth.); (b) to get a living (from a benefice, city, an estate, income, office), live (on wages, goods, etc.); ~ bi (of, on, upon, with); (c) to get a living (from work, an occupation, hunting, fishing, trickery, robbery, etc.); also fig.; ~ bi (upon, with); ~ bi (with) bodi, live by (one's) body, be a prostitute; ~ bi hondes, live by the work of (one's) hands; (d) ~ in (bi), to live by the grace of (God, Christ); ~ on (bi), live off (sb., the people), be a parasite upon; (e) ~ on, to live on (air), live by breathing (air).
?To endure (sth.), live through.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?a1450 Sel.Rosarium Theol.(Cai 354/581)86/14 : A prechour ow for to luffe like or conformely as he techiþ.
  • Note: New spelling
  • a1500(c1410) Dives & P.(Htrn 270)2.201 : Ȝif a man betake hys beste to a pore man to hyre or to kepyn in comenant uttyrlyche þat ȝif it dye, it schal dye to þe pore man and lyuyn to hym, for he wil han as good þerfor, it is wyckyd usure.
  • Note: liven ~ (sb.)
    Note: Quote not covered by gl.--per MJW.