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

Now that waters are receding, property owners along its banks are picking through debris and figuring out what's left of their homes and livelihood. Alex Derosier And Alan Suderman, Fox News, "Reckoning with loss of homes, livelihoods after Florence," 21 Sep. 2018 Thousands of people in the poor region lost their livelihoods in the storm, which hit just before harvest season for many crops, which farmers sought to harvest in haste before Mangkhut destroyed them. John Lyons, WSJ, "Typhoon Mangkhut Leaves Trail of Destruction, Dozens Dead," 16 Sep. 2018 The punishment for this crime is to lose your livelihood, legacy, reputation and to be publicly shamed. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, "Jacinda Barrett Defends Ex-Boyfriend Chris Hardwick Amid Misconduct Scandal," 26 June 2018 And without vanilla, some 80,000 farmers in Madagascar, which supplies 80% of the world’s crop, would lose their livelihood. Aryn Baker/sahabevava, Time, "Vanilla Is Nearly as Expensive as Silver. That Spells Trouble for Madagascar," 13 June 2018 Still, that’s only a fraction of the nearly 30,000 farmers Prithviraj estimates lost their livelihood. Adam Matthews, Newsweek, "The Environmental Crisis in Your Closet," 13 Aug. 2015 Once a small fishing village, Atin’s tourism—which looks set to become supercharged in the not too distant future—has become its people’s main livelihood. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "An Insider’s Guide to Atins, a Hidden Paradise on the Northeast Coast of Brazil," 18 Jan. 2019 That right isn’t diminished if the livelihood involves the sale of alcohol, even though states have broad regulatory power under the 21st Amendment. Michael Bindas And Anya Bidwell, WSJ, "The Justices Hear a Case of Liquor," 15 Jan. 2019 But when have black bodies, black livelihoods, black existences ever been safe in pursuit of truth and justice in this country? Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, Harper's BAZAAR, "When White People Are Uncomfortable, Black People Are Silenced," 9 Jan. 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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Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for livelihood

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

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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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Comments on livelihood

What made you want to look up livelihood? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to boil down or concentrate

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