engaged in ; characterized by energetic work, participation, etc.; busy:
an active life.
being in a state of existence, progress, or motion:
active hostilities.
involving physical effort and :
active sports.
having the power of quick motion; nimble:
active as a gazelle.
characterized by , motion, volume, use, participation, etc.:
an active market in wheat; an active list of subscribers.
causing or change; capable of exerting influence (opposed to ):
active treason.
effective (opposed to ):
active ingredients.
Grammar. noting or pertaining to a voice of verbal inflection in which typically the subject of the sentence is represented as performing the expressed by the verb (opposed to ): Writes in He writes a letter every day is an active verb form.
requiring or giving rise to ; practical:
an active course.
(of a volcano) in eruption.
Accounting. profitable; busy:
active accounts.
requiring personal effort or attention; not automatic:
an active alarm system.
active paper.
Medicine/Medical. acting quickly; producing immediate effects:
active remedies.
Sociology. (of a crowd) engaging in purposeful , often of a militant nature.
Compare (def 4).
Aerospace. able to transmit signals:
an active communications satellite.
Electronics. (of a device or system) acting as a source of electrical energy, as a generator, or capable of amplifying or converting voltages or currents, as a transistor or diode.
(of a solar heating system) accumulating and distributing solar heat by mechanical means.
Military. serving on .

the active voice.
a form or construction in the active voice.

an active person, member, subscriber, etc.:
The circular was mailed only to the actives on our list.
Informal. something showing considerable action or activity:
On the stock market there was heavy trading in the actives.
Contemporary Examples

Under the new law, “active” Muslim and unmarried males may be subject to 100 lashes so long as they are not engaged in rape.
A Busy Iranian Regime: Torturing and Executing Prisoners, and Persecuting Women, Gays and Religious Minorities Ilana Glazer February 28, 2013

Still, almost a decade later, he remains an active threat to peace.
The Forgotten Genocidal War in Darfur Revealed in New Satellite Photos Akshaya Kumar , Jacinth Planer March 24, 2014

The British estimate Haganah’s active membership at anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000.
First Step to Peace: Conquering Nakba Denial Yousef Munayyer May 2, 2012

It is active, steadily holding up a gas lamp and illuminating the scene.
Marcel Duchamp’s Secret Masterpiece Rachel Wolff August 27, 2009

And even if your husband is keeping you active, it might not be the right kind of active.
Why Do Cougars Die Young? Hannah Seligson May 14, 2010

Historical Examples

He wrote as a liberal in whom the spirit of individualism was active.
A History of French Literature Edward Dowden

Now he was active, acutely aware of himself and all his wants.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

Again Bobby was rendered speechless, but his mind was active.
Dusty Diamonds Cut and Polished R.M. Ballantyne

His countrymen were the first to press steam into the active service of mankind.
Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, No. 327 Various

If he is so strong in the arm and active as is reported, I desire he will imitate me.
The Dead Boxer William Carleton

in a state of action; moving, working, or doing something
busy or involved: an active life
physically energetic
exerting influence; effective: an active ingredient

denoting a voice of verbs used to indicate that the subject of a sentence is performing the action or causing the event or process described by the verb, as kicked in The boy kicked the football Compare passive (sense 5)
another word for nonstative

being fully engaged in military service (esp in the phrase on active service)
(of a volcano) erupting periodically; not extinct Compare dormant (sense 3), extinct (sense 3)
(astronomy) (of the sun) exhibiting a large number of sunspots, solar flares, etc, and a marked variation in intensity and frequency of radio emission Compare quiet (sense 8)

producing or being used to produce profit, esp in the form of interest: active balances
of or denoting stocks or shares that have been actively bought and sold as recorded in the Official List of the London Stock Exchange


containing a source of power: an active network
capable of amplifying a signal or controlling some function: an active component, an active communication satellite


the active voice
an active verb

(mainly US) a member of an organization who participates in its activities

mid-14c., “given to worldly activity” (opposed to contemplative or monastic), from Old French actif (12c.) or directly from Latin activus, from actus (see act (n.)). As “capable of acting” (opposed to passive), from late 14c. Meaning “energetic, lively” is from 1590s; that of “working, effective, in operation” is from 1640s. Active voice is recorded from 1765 (grammatical use of active dates from mid-15c.).
advanced controls technology for integrated vehicles

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