live·​li·​hood | \ ˈlīv-lē-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce livelihood (audio) \

Definition of livelihood

1 : means of support or subsistence (see subsistence sense 2) The villagers' main livelihood is fishing.
2 obsolete : the quality or state of being lively

Examples of livelihood in a Sentence

Many fishermen believe that the new regulations threaten their livelihoods.
Recent Examples on the Web Of course, Singleton wants to start making money again — her livelihood depends on it. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Some small business owners say it's too soon to reopen," 14 May 2020 To be sure, the six months between now and November are a very long time, especially with the politics-scrambling COVID-19 pandemic wantonly destroying lives and livelihoods. David Faris, TheWeek, "How Trump lost his Electoral College edge to Biden," 12 May 2020 Ilya Milstein Last month, editors at the Book Review wrote to our readers, expressing our concern for those whose livelihoods depend on books. New York Times, "‘Books have literally saved my sanity'," 4 May 2020 Mercury Marine manufacturing continues to run, and product continues to be sent to our customers whose livelihood also depends on us. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pandemic hurts Wisconsin hotels, restaurants and manufacturers, but grocers, builders are busy," 20 Mar. 2020 Leaders have to step up to support people whose lives and livelihoods take a hit in the weeks ahead. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Other Celebs Tell Fans to Stay Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic," 16 Mar. 2020 Though this might be the recommendation from people whose livelihoods depend on weddings, public-health officials are not quite so sanguine. Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, "A Very Unwelcome Wedding Guest," 10 Mar. 2020 The decisive question is if the Lake Chad region will be able to offer a source of livelihood in the future. Alicia Prager, Quartz Africa, "The fight against Nigeria’s northeast terrorism is also a battle against climate change," 18 Oct. 2019 The same week of the raids, a damning report was published detailing how the same Koch Foods was discriminating against black farmers and ruining their livelihoods in service of gaining a larger foothold in the poultry market. Carmen Rojas, Quartz at Work, "The problem with making “white” synonymous with “America’s working class”," 2 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'livelihood.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of livelihood

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for livelihood

alteration of Middle English livelode course of life, from Old English līflād, from līf + lād course — more at lode

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Time Traveler for livelihood

Time Traveler

The first known use of livelihood was in the 14th century

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Statistics for livelihood

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Livelihood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce livelihood (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of livelihood

: a way of earning money in order to live


live·​li·​hood | \ ˈlīv-lē-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce livelihood (audio) \

Kids Definition of livelihood

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