sub·​sist | \səb-ˈsist \
subsisted; subsisting; subsists

Definition of subsist 

intransitive verb

1a : to have existence : be

b : persist, continue

2 : to have or acquire the necessities of life (such as food and clothing) especially : to nourish oneself subsisting on roots, berries and grubs

3a : to hold true

b : to be logically conceivable as the subject of true statements

transitive verb

: to support with provisions

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Synonyms & Antonyms for subsist


be, breathe, exist, live


depart, die, expire, pass away, perish, succumb

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Examples of subsist in a Sentence

The author's right to royalties shall subsist for the term of the copyright. a love that was as great as any that ever did subsist

Recent Examples on the Web

The coach’s critique did not sit well with Kelly Rippon, a former dancer who remembers subsisting on sandwiches that consisted of two lettuce leaves wrapped around a tomato slice. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Adam Rippon on Quiet Starvation in Men’s Figure Skating," 13 Feb. 2018 The breakdowns still came, but not to an extent that Boston could subsist on them. Rob Mahoney,, "Celtics Finally Act Their Age as Cleveland Exposes Boston's Inexperience," 20 May 2018 Identifying which news outlets are authoritative is hard enough in the United States, where people can subsist on completely different media diets according to their politics. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "YouTube Debuts Plan to Promote and Fund 'Authoritative' News," 9 July 2018 During the Golden State Warriors’ title-celebrating parade, Draymond Green couldn’t resist the opportunity to feed NBA Twitter (which subsists on a diet of advanced statistics and memes) by taking yet another jab at LeBron James. Liz Raiss, GQ, "Draymond Green Trolled LeBron James Via T-Shirt," 13 June 2018 Also, sick in the tissue and in the head and subsisting only on small amounts of sugar, tons of caffeine and a purse pharmacy. Blake Bakkila,, "Lena Dunham Gained 24 Pounds—and Is Happier Than Ever," 10 July 2018 But for all the tough talk, the reality is that her agency subsists on an annual budget of 7.5 million euros, equivalent to $9 million. Adam Satariano, New York Times, "New Privacy Rules Could Make This Woman One of Tech’s Most Important Regulators," 16 May 2018 Tom Bondurant, a Roanoke attorney who represents the Terry family, told me on Friday that Red subsisted on three bologna sandwiches a day. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Whose Appalachia Is It, Anyway?," 8 May 2018 Projects will range from parking experiments to public transit projects — a once unthinkable business move for a company that subsists on the profits of its trucks and SUVs. Tamara Warren, The Verge, "Inside Detroit’s crumbling train station that Ford plans to transform into a mobility lab," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subsist.' 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 subsist

1549, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for subsist

Late Latin subsistere to exist, from Latin, to come to a halt, remain, from sub- + sistere to come to a stand; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

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Statistics for subsist

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subsist

The first known use of subsist was in 1549

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More Definitions for subsist



English Language Learners Definition of subsist

: to exist or continue to exist


sub·​sist | \səb-ˈsist \
subsisted; subsisting

Kids Definition of subsist

: to continue living or being They subsisted on bread and water.

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Comments on subsist

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


to express warning or disapproval

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