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Tue Jul 17, 2012, 10:14 PM

“short-lived” and “long-lived”

Whenever I’ve heard “short-lived” or “long-lived” pronounced with a short “i” as the past tense of the verb “live” is, it has sounded wrong. I’ve always thought the “i” in “-lived” should be pronounced with a long “i” (-lyved.)

It finally occurred to me to Google it.


Mike Forester writes:

The mispronunciation of "short-lived" by practically everyone, esp. nitwits on TV, is one of my longest-lived pet peeves. It has a long "i", of course, because it's an adjectival form of "life," not of "live." It's always seemed obvious to me: He had a short temper; he was short-tempered. He had a short life; he was short-lived. Care to join my campaign to stamp out "short-livd"?


Well, no, because it's almost certainly a losing battle.

Etymologically, you are correct. The "-lived" in short-lived (or long-lived, for that matter) comes from life, noun, + the adjectival ending -ed. The f turns to a v the same way it happens in the leaf leaves pair. "-lived" should therefore be pronounced with a vowel rhyming with "eye." The problem is that lived, the past tense of the verb "to live," is tremendously more common, so people often pronounce the "-lived" adjective as if it were the verb "lived."

(Edited for clarity)

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Reply “short-lived” and “long-lived” (Original post)
frogmarch Jul 2012 OP
loli phabay Jul 2012 #1
turtlerescue1 Jul 2012 #2

Response to frogmarch (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 10:19 PM

1. Too much time on your hands and a wierd brain worm to boot.


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Response to frogmarch (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 10:20 PM

2. I'm speechless but thats short lived, but not for long.

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