The noun phrase still life is used in Art. It is a label for a work, usually two-dimensional, like painting or drawing, which shows inanimate objects. These are often based on materials found in kitchens: copper or ceramic dishes, glassware, metal and wooden utensils, and ingredients such as vegetables, dead birds or other game, and eggs. (Flower painting may be seen as a sub-genre of still life.)
AWE makes two points about its use in English, and one about the oddity of names.
- The plural of still life is still lifes (unlike the regular plural of the noun life, which is lives - see also Life - live (verb) - live (adjective)).
Still livesis an error.
- When the phrase is used as an adjective, it is often written with a hyphen: still-life. It is not justifiably written with a hyphen when it is used as a noun - although some respected authors do so.