subsistence

noun sub·sis·tence \ səb-ˈsis-tən(t)s \
Updated on: 8 Nov 2017

Definition of subsistence

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

play \-tənt\ adjective

Examples of subsistence in a Sentence

  1. They depended on hunting and fishing for subsistence.

  2. Farming is their means of subsistence.

Recent Examples of subsistence from the Web

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



SUBSISTENCE Defined for English Language Learners

subsistence

noun

Definition of subsistence for English Language Learners

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


SUBSISTENCE Defined for Kids

subsistence

noun sub·sis·tence \ səb-ˈsis-təns \

Definition of subsistence for Students

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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up subsistence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to praise usually to excess

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!