subsistence

noun

sub·​sis·​tence səb-ˈsi-stən(t)s How to pronounce subsistence (audio)
1
a(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
subsistent 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 filling of cheese and bread crumbs also reflects an area in which sheep rearing was the main form of subsistence for centuries. Rachel Roddy, New York Times, 13 May 2024 Bettmann via Getty Images These were significant reversals in the same ancient categories – subsistence, settlement and social organization – that led to the rise of infectious diseases in the first place. Ron Barrett, Discover Magazine, 11 May 2024 His work, which often centers on freshwater issues, climate change and subsistence, has appeared in Circle of Blue, Sierra magazine, Discover magazine and Alaska Sporting Journal. Christian Thorsberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 May 2024 For decades, the descendants of those Sangre de Cristo Land Grant families relied on it for subsistence hunting and firewood for heat during the valley’s long, cold winters. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, 5 May 2024 The reports says a new 211-mile road would allow open-pit mines, reduce subsistence access for 66 remote villages, further weaken permafrost, and require thousands of damaging crossings over streams, rivers and wetlands, which could endanger the state's second-largest caribou herd. USA TODAY, 16 Apr. 2024 Because of the widespread use of PFAS, these chemicals are now present in water, soil and living organisms and can be found across almost every part of the planet, including Arctic glaciers, marine mammals, remote communities living on subsistence diets and in 98% of the American public. Kathryn Crawford, The Conversation, 10 Apr. 2024 With magical and social realism, Viera Junior tells the story of subsistence farmers in Brazil's poorest region. Elizabeth Blair, NPR, 9 Apr. 2024 One thing clear to all refugee agencies and experts, except UNRWA, is that long-term subsistence in refugee camps is the least desirable alternative. John Bolton, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 1 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subsistence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near subsistence

Cite this Entry

“Subsistence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subsistence. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

subsistence

noun
sub·​sis·​tence səb-ˈsis-tən(t)s How to pronounce subsistence (audio)
1
a
: real being : existence
b
: the condition of remaining in existence : continuation, persistence
2
a
: means of subsisting
b
: the minimum (as of food and shelter) necessary to support life
subsistent adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on subsistence

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