noun, often attributive
sur·​viv·​al | \ sər-ˈvī-vəl How to pronounce survival (audio) \

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

To director Rupert Goold, Zellweger and Garland are tethered by their knack for survival. Amy Nicholson, Town & Country, "What/If Made Renée Zellweger "Uncomfortable" And She Loved It," 24 May 2019 Lacking the hunting skills of their wolf cousins, these vulnerable and suddenly solo little ones have a couple of options for survival. The Washington Post,, "Puppies' cuteness peaks right when they need humans most, study finds," 24 May 2018 There's no real human equivalent for the zombified attack, one of the most jarring styles of survival in the animal kingdom. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How Wasps Turn Spiders Into Obedient Zombies," 30 Apr. 2019 Author David Moskowitz traveled to the land of the mountain caribou, to document its struggle for survival in the inland rain forests of Washington, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "David Moskowitz captures the beauty — and fragility — of the Northwest’s mountain caribou," 11 Feb. 2019 Unknown Worlds; Windows, Mac, Xbox One, PS4 Further Reading One main mystery makes survival in Subnautica worthwhile Subnautica doesn’t waste any time before throwing you in the thick of it. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 Each installment of Dynasties shows a certain endangered animal's fight for survival in an ever-changing world. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Here's an Inside Look at the Making of BBC's Epic Animal Series, "Dynasties"," 19 Dec. 2018 That may help increase the chances of survival in an auto-parts industry increasingly dominated by behemoths like Robert Bosch GmbH, Denso Corp. and Magna International Inc. Sean Mclain, WSJ, "Fiat Chrysler Unloads Car-Parts Unit in $7.1 Billion Deal With KKR," 22 Oct. 2018 Mutations should theoretically face better odds of survival in some situations than others, however. John Rennie, WIRED, "This Mutation Math Shows How Life Keeps on Evolving," 1 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

13 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce survival (audio) \

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).


showing courage and determination

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