live·​li·​hood ˈlīv-lē-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce livelihood (audio)
: means of support or subsistence (see subsistence sense 2)
The villagers' main livelihood is fishing.
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 Previously, there was a profit and livelihood standard. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2024 Black women are paying attention to their hormonal health, now more than ever before, because our livelihoods depend on it. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 4 Apr. 2024 According to the United Nations, nearly 5 million people in Haiti are suffering from acute food insecurity – defined as when a person’s inability to consume adequate food poses immediate danger to their lives or livelihoods. Hira Humayun, CNN, 3 Apr. 2024 Many of them have expressed fear that AI—even in its infancy—could genuinely pose a risk to their livelihoods. Jane Thier, Fortune, 3 Apr. 2024 When used irresponsibly, AI poses enormous threats to our ability to protect our privacy, our identities, our music and our livelihoods. Laura Bratton, Quartz, 3 Apr. 2024 The former tended to see education as a key to escaping poverty, whereas the latter Picture Show The collapse of Baltimore's Key Bridge is impacting the livelihoods of dockworkers and small waterfront businesses alike. Mansee Khurana, NPR, 2 Apr. 2024 Families of people with dementia must either sacrifice their personal well-being and livelihoods to care for a loved one at home, hire a professional home health aide, which costs from US$30 to $50 an hour, or place the loved one in a nursing home. Maria J Silveira, The Conversation, 1 Apr. 2024 Thousands of others -- their livelihood depends on the port. ABC News, 31 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'livelihood.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near livelihood

Cite this Entry

“Livelihood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


live·​li·​hood ˈlīv-lē-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce livelihood (audio)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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