Life Lexicon Home Page

This is the home page of Stephen Silver's Life Lexicon, an explanation of over seven hundred terms used in Conway's Life. The Life Lexicon may be copied, modified and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported licence (CC BY-SA 3.0).

You can view the Life Lexicon on-line, or download it in various forms, as shown in the table below. If you want the Lexicon in HTML, note that the single-page version can be difficult to use on some older systems due to its size, in which case you may prefer to use the multipage version. If you are a GNU Emacs user, then the ASCII version with its lifelex.el is recommended.

Life Lexicon, Release 25
2006 February 28
download plain text (ASCII) version 87K zip archive
download single-page HTML version 92K zip archive
download multipage HTML version 138K zip archive
download source distribution 116K zip archive

Note that the source distribution consists of the ASCII version plus the files needed to generate the HTML versions. This is unlikely to be of much use to anyone but me.

A Russian translation of the Life Lexicon by Nicolay Beluchenko is also available. (Zip file of Russian translation, 167K.) Nicolay has also compiled a collection of named objects from the Lexicon (last updated 2006 April 1).

If you would like to receive notification of new releases of the Life Lexicon, you can subscribe to the Life Lexicon mailing list by sending a blank e-mail to This mailing list is only used for notification of new releases, so the traffic on it should amount to about two or three messages a year (judging by the past rate of new releases, which, however, is very erratic). You can unsubscribe by sending a blank e-mail to

Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach.    Samuel Johnson, 1775
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This page is maintained by Stephen Silver
Last updated: 2011 Mar 30
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