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

But the family said that moving to the development would doom its ability to live as subsistence farmers and fishermen. Los Angeles Times, "In a battle over land, a Brazilian homestead is demolished," 2 Aug. 2019 Coastal Alaska Natives are permitted to harvest polar bears for subsistence and crafts, but not in a wasteful way, the outlet reported. Fox News, "Alaska man illegally killed polar bear, left wasting carcass in front yard for months: authorities," 17 July 2019 Unlike most previous waves of immigrants to Israel, who often arrived well-schooled and credentialled, most Ethiopian Jews had been subsistence farmers. The Economist, "The killing of a black Jew sparks protests in Israel," 11 July 2019 Researchers have found that nearly 83 percent of those attacked in East Timor in the past 11 years were subsistence fishing, using small canoes or wading in the water. Matthew Abbott, New York Times, "The Revered Crocodiles of This Island Nation Have Suddenly Started Killing People," 6 June 2019 Mountain slopes that were once blanketed with the plant, its pink, purple and red flowers lending a burst of vibrancy to an otherwise dusty landscape, now lie fallow or have been replaced by subsistence crops — mainly corn. Kirk Semple, New York Times, "Mexican Opium Prices Plummet, Driving Poppy Farmers to Migrate," 7 July 2019 Bruin showed that Ronald Martin, a resident of Haines, Alaska, had used his First Nation subsistence harvesting rights to guide hunts in Kluane Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Yukon, with clients (including Americans) who had no such rights. National Geographic, "In the Alaska-Yukon wilderness, wildlife crime fighters face a daunting task," 25 June 2019 Indigenous Guatemalans have arrived here ever since, but spiraling violence and an unforgiving drought that has driven subsistence farmers off their land back home has caused a surge in the last two years. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, "Schools Scramble to Handle Thousands of New Migrant Families," 9 July 2019 Since the 1990s, when the population of predatory perch first boomed at the expense of smaller native fish, fishing has provided a rare path to cash income for subsistence farmers around the lake—in Kenya and Tanzania as well as Uganda. Alec Jacobson, National Geographic, "Fishermen fight to survive on the world's second largest lake," 3 May 2019

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

10 Aug 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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