subsistence

noun
sub·​sis·​tence | \ səb-ˈsi-stən(t)s How to pronounce subsistence (audio) \

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 How to pronounce subsistent (audio) \ 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

If wages rose above subsistence, this would plunge the whole system into ruin. Marilynne Robinson, Harper's magazine, "Is Poverty Necessary?," 10 June 2019 Utqiagvik is among 11 Alaska Native communities authorized to hunt bowheads for subsistence. Rachel D'oro, The Seattle Times, "Inupiat town mourns hunters killed as they towed whale home," 9 Oct. 2018 When a developing country embraces manufacturing to propel itself away from agrarian subsistence, the work is invariably rote and exploitive and often even life-threatening. Beth Macy, New York Times, "We Are What We Manufacture," 9 Mar. 2018 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

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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Statistics for subsistence

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce subsistence (audio) \

Kids Definition of subsistence

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

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Comments on subsistence

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