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



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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 Among a cast of kooky supporting characters, Eli Cardashyan, played by Glendale native Gregory Kasyan, takes over the Glendale Galleria after a lifetime of subsisting on knock-offs. Lila Seidman, Glendale News-Press, "How Albuquerque became post-apocalyptic Glendale in Netflix’s ‘Daybreak’ series," 23 Oct. 2019 Inside, the family was self-sufficient, subsisting on vegetables from the garden and a goat, and possibly with help from the 58-year-old tenant, Dutch media reported. oregonlive, "A family was kept in a secret farmhouse room for nine years, until the oldest son escaped to find help," 16 Oct. 2019 Despite subsisting on rainwater at three weeks, the emaciated pup managed to survive. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: A Month Later, Florida Rescue Group Finds “Miracle” Dog Trapped Beneath Rubble of Hurricane Dorian," 11 Oct. 2019 Temples and compounds for the elite class dominated the city near the Pacific coast, while the community subsisted on crops from surrounding agriculture. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Mesoamerican Sculptures Reveal Early Knowledge of Magnetism," 6 Aug. 2019 In Brooklyn, Russell was a ball-dominant point guard whose game subsisted on pick-and-rolls. Connor Letourneau,, "Get to know Warriors’ eight newcomers, three of whom could start immediately," 12 July 2019 The patient was mostly subsisting on french fries, Pringles, white bread, ham and sausage, according to the case report. Time, "A Teen Boy's Diet of Fries and Sausage Led to Blindness, According to a New Case Study," 3 Sep. 2019 For an industry that has barely subsisted on razor-thin margins, one more challenge might be enough to push it into decline. Matt Reynolds, WIRED, "A Fungus Could Wipe Out the Banana Forever," 19 Aug. 2019 But for native communities that subsist largely on hunting and fishing, removing a man diminishes the village in the eyes of other Alaska Natives. USA Today, "Alaska is considered the deadliest state for women. A staggering 59% of women there have experienced violence.," 25 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

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for subsist

The first known use of subsist was in 1549

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How to pronounce subsist (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subsist

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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