Definition of subsistence
1a (1) : real being : existence (2) : the condition of remaining in existence : continuation, persistenceb : an essential characteristic quality of something that existsc : the character possessed by whatever is logically conceivable
2 : means of subsisting: such asa : the minimum (as of food and shelter) necessary to support lifeb : a source or means of obtaining the necessities of life
subsistentplay \-tənt\ adjective
Examples of subsistence in a Sentence
They depended on hunting and fishing for subsistence.
Farming is their means of subsistence.
Recent Examples of subsistence from the Web
The main livelihood activities are pastoralism (raising of cows, goats, sheep and camels) and/or subsistence farming — raising food crops for one’s household.
The DAFF allocated 212 million rand for drought-relief measures but only spent 146 million rand, 90 percent of which went to subsistence farmers, Agri SA said.
Until the late 1980s, the country's rural, subsistence economy was buckling under a massive foreign debt; its main export was people.
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.
Origin and Etymology of subsistence
Middle English, from Late Latin subsistentia, from subsistent-, subsistens, present participle of subsistere
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
SUBSISTENCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of subsistence for English Language Learners
: the amount of food, money, etc., that is needed to stay alive
SUBSISTENCE Defined for Kids
Definition of subsistence for Students
: the smallest amount (as of food and clothing) necessary to support life
Seen and Heard
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