sub·​sist | \ səb-ˈsist How to pronounce subsist (audio) \
subsisted; subsisting; subsists

Definition of subsist

intransitive verb

1a : to have existence : be
2 : to have or acquire the necessities of life (such as food and clothing) especially : to nourish oneself subsisting on roots, berries and grubs
3a : to hold true
b : to be logically conceivable as the subject of true statements

transitive verb

: to support with provisions

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Synonyms & Antonyms for subsist


be, breathe, exist, live


depart, die, expire, pass away, perish, succumb

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Examples of subsist in a Sentence

The author's right to royalties shall subsist for the term of the copyright. a love that was as great as any that ever did subsist

Recent Examples on the Web

The two fighters have kept the fires burning in the four years since the fight, occasionally promising a rematch even though Mayweather is now 42 and subsisting on carny fights against MMA stars and kickboxers. Matt Bonesteel, The Denver Post, "Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are beefing again. Will it lead to a rematch?," 24 July 2019 Russell’s offense subsists almost entirely on pick-and-rolls. Connor Letourneau,, "Why the Warriors gave up so much to land D’Angelo Russell," 2 July 2019 In the Amazon rainforest of Venezuela, Yanomami hunter-gatherers subsist on cassava, palm hearts and wild banana. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Race to Preserve the Biodiversity Inside Our Bodies," 30 June 2019 For instance, Stone Age people in southern Finland were believed to subsist almost exclusively on seals. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Ancient, Inedible ‘Cheerios’ Found in Austrian Archaeological Site," 12 June 2019 Being a vegetarian doesn't mean subsisting on steamed broccoli and bowls of pasta. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "Soy Curls Are the Single-Ingredient Meat Substitute I Buy in Bulk," 4 June 2019 On average since 2006, beekeepers have lost about 30 percent of colonies each winter, when hives must subsist on honey reserves to survive. Scott Dance, Washington Post, "University of Maryland-led survey finds honeybee losses highest in 13 years this winter," 20 June 2019 On average since 2006, beekeepers have been losing about 30% of colonies each winter, when hives must subsist on honey reserves to survive. Scott Dance,, "Honey bee losses highest in 13 years this winter, University of Maryland-led survey finds," 19 June 2019 Mr Romano of Nestlé says that Latin American ones used to subsist largely on table scraps, but no longer. The Economist, "Pet-ownership is booming across the world," 22 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subsist.' 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 subsist

1549, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for subsist

Late Latin subsistere to exist, from Latin, to come to a halt, remain, from sub- + sistere to come to a stand; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

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Statistics for subsist

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subsist

The first known use of subsist was in 1549

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More Definitions for subsist



English Language Learners Definition of subsist

formal : to exist or continue to exist


sub·​sist | \ səb-ˈsist How to pronounce subsist (audio) \
subsisted; subsisting

Kids Definition of subsist

: to continue living or being They subsisted on bread and water.

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More from Merriam-Webster on subsist

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subsist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subsist

Spanish Central: Translation of subsist

Nglish: Translation of subsist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subsist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on subsist

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


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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