Looking for a single noun to title a funeral picture board where photos show the subject dancing, eating, drinking, reading, and laughing. I want to portray this man's love of life. Other photo board titles include athlete, jester, friend, so I would like a parallel part of speech (a noun).

I found "biophile", but it just sounds so clinical. Any help is appreciated. My dearly departed was truly a lover of the English language.

  • 5
    I thought "hedonist" at first glance, but I doubt that would solicit the desired reaction from funeral attendees. Mar 4, 2015 at 12:11

9 Answers 9


Looking for a single noun ...

I'm sorry to be borrowing from French, here, but bon vivant (literally “one who lives well, good ‘liver’ (living person)”), from bon (“good”) + vivant (“person who is living”), agent noun of vivre (“to live”), is better than any English term I can think of, though it can come across as pretentious-sounding.

bon vivant (plural bons vivants)

1. a person who enjoys the good things in life, especially good food and drink; a man about town. see, Wiktionary "bon vivant"

Additional caveat: "biophile" is also a term employed by "deep or radical ecologists" to mean: one who extends moral consideration to all that is alive, rather than to, say, just Homo sapiens (philanthropist or anthropophile).

Late edit; a great noun plus its adjectival form,

Convivialist noun: A person of convivial habits. See, Wiktionary convivialist

Convivial adjective: (of an atmosphere or event) friendly, lively, and enjoyable. • (of a person) cheerful and friendly; jovial.

synonyms: friendly, genial, affable, amiable, congenial, agreeable, good-humored, cordial, warm, sociable, outgoing, gregarious, companionable, clubby, hail-fellow-well-met, cheerful, jolly, jovial, lively. See, Google.com convivial

On a personal note, Lisa, I'd just like to pass along my condolences.

  • 1
    I considered suggesting "socialite" because of the sociable aspect of the activities the OP described, but which would have had some unhelpful associations. "Convivialist" captures that aspect much more nicely.
    – Silverfish
    Mar 4, 2015 at 18:01
  • 2
    I don't know if my father-in-law ever visited this site, but he would be delighted to read this discussion! Heartfelt thanks for sharing your knowledge. I think I will use bon vivant to remind us of his love of the French language. I also think he would enjoy any googling of the term that might occur at the viewing. He was an English teacher, and this could be his final lesson :)
    – user112524
    Mar 5, 2015 at 11:04

Unless you absolutely need a single word, use "lover of life".

"Biophile" won't be a familiar word (and that matters in this context, since I expect you aren't trying to challenge your readers' vocabulary). And I rather think that English-speakers will interpret the bio- prefix more closely to "biology" than "biography". That is to say they'll take it to mean a lover of the natural world and living things in general, rather than a lover of one's own life specifically and the act of living it.

This is not to say that your loved one didn't love living things, it's just not what you're depicting here and so I don't think it would be an effective caption.

  • 1
    +1 Though it's interesting to have elicited some great terms so far, I don't think anything else will better communicate what I think the OP wants to say. Mar 4, 2015 at 18:26
  • citation
    – Barmar
    Mar 9, 2015 at 19:52

If you really want to stick to a single word noun and want it to be understood by people, you can consider life-lover.

I wish I knew what people mean when they say they find "emptiness" in this wonderful adventure of living... I'm afraid I'm an incorrigible life-lover and life-wonderer and adventurer. —Edith Wharton

The common phrases to express the enjoyment of life are joie de vivre and full of life.


Wile it is often used in reference to a particular pursuit, you might consider the label enthusiast (hinted at in the answer by @sojourner.)

One who is filled with enthusiasm; one who is ardently absorbed in an interest or pursuit: a baseball enthusiast.

American Heritage

It is clear your friend had enthusiasm about a number of things. If they are depicted, the label should convey his passion for each, and perhaps suggest that it extended to other things not depicted.


If you are looking for a single noun I believe you may go for gusto; full-of-gusto.

noun: great enjoyment, energy, and enthusiasm (www.merriam-webster.com).

Or you may go for: sprightly; "Full of life and energy"(www.merriam-webster.com).


Epicurean is the word for a person who enjoys pursuing sensuous pleasures


Was your friend by any chance a sybarite?

a person devoted to luxury and pleasure.

Might not sound entirely positive to some, but it's not necessarily a negative word and used in the right context I think it conveys the meaning: "[He] was a true Sybarite king, yet a man of refinement and taste."1


I'll come from a slightly different angle;


a feeling of intense pleasure or joy.

It doesn't describe the pursuit of these activities, but rather the emotion generated from doing them.


Biophile is the wrong word (that’s a lover of living things, and life is not a living thing (in the relevant sense)). I’m sure this answer’s far too late, and so I share this solely for its intrinsic interest. (Also, I have no illusions that this would have been an appropriate word to share with a room of non-literati. I just think there should be a word for this too.) The Greek for ‘life’ is zeta-omega-eta (like ‘zoi’), so you could coin the word (if you don’t like the English compound ‘lover of life’). It would be (perhaps) ‘zoiphile’. But that looks too much like ‘zoophile’, which is redolent of biophile again (and that one’s related fetishes...). So coin it in reverse, like ‘philososphy’, where zeta-omega-eta appears at the end. And I don’t know how to construct that. :)

  • Any references would help your answer.
    – Karlomanio
    May 10, 2019 at 21:34

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