subsistence

noun
sub·​sis·​tence | \ səb-ˈsi-stən(t)s \

Definition of subsistence

1a(1) : real being : existence
(2) : the condition of remaining in existence : continuation, persistence
b : an essential characteristic quality of something that exists
c : the character possessed by whatever is logically conceivable
2 : means of subsisting: such as
a : the minimum (as of food and shelter) necessary to support life
b : a source or means of obtaining the necessities of life

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Other Words from subsistence

subsistent \ səb-​ˈsi-​stənt \ adjective

Examples of subsistence in a Sentence

They depended on hunting and fishing for subsistence. Farming is their means of subsistence.

Recent Examples on the Web

The new movie Arctic, out February 1, opens with the main character already several weeks into a solitary subsistence. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "8 Essential Tips from 'Arctic,' the Best Survival Movie in Years," 1 Feb. 2019 In principle, a government fixes the basic income at a level to allow subsistence but also to encourage enterprise and effort for the enjoyment of more prosperity. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "Who Really Stands to Win from Universal Basic Income?," 24 Mar. 2014 The hunt underscores the tension between animal rights activists who want to safeguard at-risk species and indigenous residents who depend on subsistence fishing and hunting as part of their ancient culture and traditions. Rachel D'oro, The Seattle Times, "APNewsBreak: Alaska Natives believed whale hunt was legal," 21 Aug. 2018 For many residents on the Kuskokwim River, June is the most important month for subsistence salmon fishing. Anna Rose Macarthur, Anchorage Daily News, "Recent deaths put an entire village behind on subsistence fishing," 22 June 2018 The massive animal strayed into the Kuskokwim River near the Yup’ik village of Napaskiak and was killed on July 27, 2017 in a region where indigenous residents rely on subsistence fishing and hunting as part of their ancient culture and traditions. Washington Post, "APNewsBreak: US won’t prosecute Alaska gray whale kill," 8 June 2018 Climate change has complicated life for subsistence whalers and hunters, who worry about animals' changing migration patterns and the deadly risks of traveling on thinner ice, said longtime Utqiagvik whaler Billy Adams, 52. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Bowhead whales, dwellers of icy seas, enjoy steady growth off Alaska in the age of climate change," 13 May 2018 Papua New Guinea is a largely undeveloped Pacific nation of more than 8 million mostly subsistence farmers with widespread poverty, corruption and lawlessness. Ciaran Mcquillan, The Seattle Times, "Police storm Papua New Guinea Parliament for APEC summit pay," 20 Nov. 2018 Most of these women were subsistence farmers, so this is a big opportunity [to earn more]. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The Duo Behind Cesta Collective Is Building a “Next-Gen Sustainable Brand” in Africa," 16 Nov. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for subsistence

Middle English, from Late Latin subsistentia, from subsistent-, subsistens, present participle of subsistere

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for subsistence

The first known use of subsistence was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for subsistence

subsistence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of subsistence

: the amount of food, money, etc., that is needed to stay alive

subsistence

noun
sub·​sis·​tence | \ səb-ˈsis-təns \

Kids Definition of subsistence

: the smallest amount (as of food and clothing) necessary to support life

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