Living, alive, animate, animated, vital mean endowed with or manifesting life.
In their primary senses where life means that character or quality which is peculiar to things that are capable of growth, reproduction, and, often, motion and which is lost by death, they come very close to each other.
Living and alive are opposed to dead and, therefore, are applied to organic bodies which have life as distinguished from those from which life has departed; they are distinguishable chiefly by the fact that alive follows the noun it modifies either directly or as a predicative adjective.
Animate is opposed to inanimate and is applied to living organic bodies as contrasted with dead organic bodies or, more often, with inorganic bodies having no capacity for life <those who ignore the natural world around, animate and inanimate —Spencer >
Animated (see also LIVELY ); (compare animate under QUICKEN ) is opposed to lifeless or inert, and may apply to something which, once devoid of life, becomes alive or may be used to perfect a comparison of something by its nature lifeless with something living.
Vital is applied chiefly to qualities (as power, force, energy, or motion) which result naturally from or are associated with life in distinction from qualities which result from purely physical or chemical causes.
When these words are applied to things which have not life in the sense defined, they form other groupings. All, however, stress qualities suggestive of life.
Living usually suggests continued or continuous existence with no diminution of activity or efficacy.
Alive and vital are very close in their emphasis on abundance of vigor, on capacity for development, or on powers of endurance; both are applicable to persons as well as to things.
Alive and animated often imply the presence of living things in great numbers. Animated also may stress endowment with qualities suggestive of life, especially motion.