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

What’s clear from this and other mega projects is that, for residents, there is a serious risk that their impact on local politics, livelihoods and conflicts is being overlooked. Zoe Cormack, Quartz Africa, "Kenya’s huge wind power project might be great for the environment but not for local communities," 3 Sep. 2019 Even as the worth of dolphins, dead or alive, continues to drop, the 26 fishermen granted permits by the government to hunt Taiji’s dolphins continue to take part in the annual hunt to support their community’s livelihood, according to ABC News. Kelli Bender,, "Controversial Dolphin Hunt, Likely to Leave 1,400 Dolphins Captured or Killed, Begins in Japan," 3 Sep. 2019 These farmers typically rely on small plots of land to support themselves and their families—places where an outbreak of disease could destroy an entire livelihood. Emma Bryce, Quartz, "A new AI-powered smartphone app scans banana crops for early signs of disease," 2 Sep. 2019 In September 2018, Walmart Foundation had committed to contribute $25 million over five years to improve farmers’ livelihoods in India. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "The world’s largest retailer is reaching out to India’s small farmers with new technology," 27 Aug. 2019 But this has largely not translated into the type of big ticket livelihood reforms and improvements Lam promised on taking office. James Griffiths, CNN, "Hong Kong's summer of discontent is now longer than 2014's Umbrella Movement ... and isn't over yet," 26 Aug. 2019 These are teenagers who are straining toward livelihoods despite their circumstances; David Makes Man never suggests that its hero is more deserving of happiness or success than the other kids who share his background. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "A Rare Show That Explores the Nuances of Black Boyhood," 22 Aug. 2019 In her plan, Warren pledged to end policies that have perpetuated this discrimination and to help these families of color preserve their ownership, build wealth and gain access to sustainable livelihoods. Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, "Elizabeth Warren Announces Plans to Help Heirs’ Property Owners," 20 Aug. 2019 Tyson was open about his own issues that derailed his career and livelihood. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "'I hurt everybody': Mike Tyson tells Alabama football players why they need to manage anger," 9 Aug. 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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Statistics for livelihood

Last Updated

7 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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