Both 生活 and 生命 mean "life". Both can be modified by "好" (好生活/好生命). Like any language, I don't believe two words ever mean the exact identical thing. If anybody could point me to the subtle (or not so subtle) differences between the two words, I would be most grateful. Thanks!

  • "生活" is the external situation where one lives while "生命" is a identity of every living creature.
    – Zack Ni
    Jul 14, 2016 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


生活 is life as in "family life/private life/sex life/working life". 生命 is life as in "Cats are supposed to have nine lives/He lost his life in an accident"

  • 2
    They are totally different, though they share the same word "life" in English.
    – Huang
    Jul 13, 2016 at 23:30
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    More precisely, 生活 is lifestyle. Also note that the word 命 alone means fate or destiny.
    – SOFe
    Jul 14, 2016 at 8:52
  • examples:生活:他们过着紧张忙碌的生活。她过的是安逸闲适的生活。(实用英汉词典)生命? 按说猫有九条命,lost his life:战斗中阵亡了,也丢了性命,牺牲了,丧生,送了命(jukuu)
    – user6065
    Jul 14, 2016 at 15:39
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    @PEMapModder 命 alone doesn't necessarily mean fate. It can mean fate / lifespan / life as in "he lost his life in an accident".
    – ltux
    Jul 15, 2016 at 4:12
  • 1
    @PEMapModder. It doesn't have to be paired with other words. Life as in "he lost his life in an accident" : 救命,一条命,丧了命. Lifespan: 短命. I guess the discussion will eventually fall into what constitute a compound word.
    – ltux
    Jul 16, 2016 at 7:03

生活 - everyday life.
生命 - from birth to death.

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