Oxygen activity in highly delithiated LiCoO2 is critical to fully utilizing the energy density of this high-tap-density cathode but still lacks a clear understanding. In this work, we combined the results of several experimental techniques, especially resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (RIXS) and neutron pair distribution function (NPDF) analysis, together with theoretical calculations to study this topic. Our results conclude that oxygen redox takes place globally in the lattice, rather than forming localized dimerization as previously thought. RIXS results directly reveal the reversible oxygen redox, and NPDF results show that the O–O pair distance is considerably shortened in the highly delithiated LiCoO2. Theoretical calculations indicate that no O–O bonding is formed in LiCoO2, in sharp contrast to the lithium-rich system in which O–O bonding does form. These results provide the rationale for achieving a reversible deep delithiation and high energy density for LiCoO2-based electrodes.