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(līf′ən-dĕth′) or life-or-death (līf′ər-)
1. Involving or ending in life or death: a mongoose in a life-and-death battle with a cobra.
2. Vitally important: a life-and-death struggle between union and management.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




vitally or gravely serious: a life-and-death situation.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


also life-or-death

involving possible loss of life; mortal; crucially important: a life-and-death struggle.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: - vitally important; "a life-and-death struggle"
crucial, important - of extreme importance; vital to the resolution of a crisis; "a crucial moment in his career"; "a crucial election"; "a crucial issue for women"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


adjective critical, important, serious, crucial, vital, deciding, pressing, key, significant, dangerous, grave, urgent, decisive, risky, hairy (slang), all-important, pivotal, precarious, high-priority, perilous, momentary, now or never We're dealing with a life-and-death situation here.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


[ˈlaɪfənˌdɛθ] adj life-and-death strugglelotta all'ultimo sangue
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(laif) plural lives (laivz) noun
1. the quality belonging to plants and animals which distinguishes them from rocks, minerals etc and things which are dead. Doctors are fighting to save the child's life.
2. the period between birth and death. He had a long and happy life.
3. liveliness. She was full of life and energy.
4. a manner of living. She lived a life of ease and idleness.
5. the period during which any particular state exists. He had many different jobs during his working life.
6. living things. It is now believed that there may be life on Mars; animal life.
7. the story of a life. He has written a life of Churchill.
8. life imprisonment. He was given life for murder.
ˈlifeless adjective
1. dead. a lifeless body.
2. not lively; uninteresting. The actress gave a lifeless performance.
ˈlifelike adjective
like a living person, animal etc. The statue was very lifelike; a lifelike portrait.
life-and-ˈdeath adjective
serious and deciding between life and death. a life-and-death struggle.
ˈlifebelt noun
a ring or belt filled with air or made of a material which floats, for keeping a person afloat.
ˈlifeboat noun
a boat for saving shipwrecked people.
ˈlifebuoy noun
a buoy intended to support a person in the water till he can be rescued.
ˈlife-cycle noun
the various stages through which a living thing passes. the life-cycle of the snail.
life expectancy
the (average) length of time a person can expect to live.
ˈlifeguard noun
a person employed to protect and rescue swimmers at a swimming-pool, beach etc.
ˈlife-jacket noun
a sleeveless jacket filled with material that will float, for keeping a person afloat.
ˈlifeline noun
a rope for support in dangerous operations or thrown to rescue a drowning person.
ˈlifelong adjective
lasting the whole length of a life. a lifelong friendship.
ˈlife-saving noun
the act or skill of rescuing people from drowning. The boy is being taught life-saving.
ˈlife-size(d) adjective, adverb
(of a copy, drawing etc) as large as the original. a life-sized statue.
ˈlifetime noun
the period of a person's life. He saw many changes in his lifetime.
as large as life
in person; actually. I went to the party and there was John as large as life.
bring to life
to make lively or interesting. His lectures really brought the subject to life.
come to life
to become lively or interesting. The play did not come to life until the last act.
for life
until death. They became friends for life.
the life and soul of the party
a person who is very active, enthusiastic, amusing etc at a party.
not for the life of me
not even if it was necessary in order to save my life. I couldn't for the life of me remember his name!
not on your life!
certainly not!. `Will you get married?' `Not on your life!'
take life
to kill. It is a sin to take life.
take one's life
to kill oneself.
take one's life in one's hands
to take the risk of being killed.
to the life
exactly (like). When he put on that uniform, he was Napoleon to the life.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.