noun, often attributive
sur·viv·al | \ sər-ˈvī-vəl \

Definition of survival 

1a : the act or fact of living or continuing longer than another person or thing

b : the continuation of life or existence problems of survival in arctic conditions

2 : one that survives

Examples of survival in a Sentence

The refugees depend on foreign aid for their survival. Small businesses are fighting for survival. the survival of an old folktale
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Recent Examples on the Web

Racial disparities in breast cancer diagnosis and survival rates may have more to do with neighborhood than race, according to a new University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analysis. Darcel Rockett,, "'If I lived on the North Side': Neighborhood may matter more than race in breast cancer survival rates," 9 July 2018 And to me, survival is the game -- that's the hardest part. Mary J. Dimeglio, Billboard, "Dave Grohl Says He Avoided Listening to Music After Kurt Cobain's Death," 8 July 2018 The work, led by Sean Landsman at Carleton University, field tested the effects of air exposure and other common handling practices on the health and survival of the fish. Anna Groves, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin’s Musky Whisperer spills his secret: Thinking like a scientist," 3 July 2018 Much of the importance of the designation resides in the level of survival and archaeological potential of any site. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The lost standing stones of Devon are still hiding from archaeologists," 1 July 2018 Mr Assad’s survival is a lesson in the use of butchery, the rivalries of his foes and the emptiness of Western pronouncements. The Economist, "Syrian refugees could turn into the new Palestinians," 30 June 2018 Sage grouse survival is completely dependent on sagebrush. Washington Post, "Environmental group appeals massive juniper removal in Idaho," 29 June 2018 With the World Cup fast approaching the knockout stages, many teams were fighting for survival and passage to the last 16 of the competition in their final match of the group stages - not so for England and Belgium., "'Best Man on the Field' - Reds Fans React to Liverpool Star's World Cup Performance Against Belgium," 29 June 2018 Greece is slated to leave the bailout program Aug. 21, marking a symbolic end to eurozone’s long debt crisis that put the survival of the common currency in doubt. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Germany Delays Greece’s Final Bailout Payment," 12 July 2018

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

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for survival

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for survival

The first known use of survival was in 1598

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More Definitions for survival



English Language Learners Definition of survival

: the state or fact of continuing to live or exist especially in spite of difficult conditions

: something from an earlier period that still exists or is done


sur·viv·al | \ sər-ˈvī-vəl \

Kids Definition of survival

: the continuation of life Our survival depended on finding water.

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Comments on survival

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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