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

Within a human tumor, different mutations create sub-groups of cells that compete with one another for survival. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "How a 6,000-Year-Old Dog Cancer Spread Around the World," 1 Aug. 2019 These were women who had been in isolated survival mode and rarely reached out to each other. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: Pictures are worth more than a thousand words on this humanitarian border trip," 13 July 2019 That means my body also doesn’t always have enough hemoglobin, which is pretty key for survival. Joelle Zarcone, SELF, "My Cooley’s Anemia Helps Me View Workouts as a Gift, Not a Chore," 12 July 2019 This one’s more post-apocalyptic but definitely deserves a watch if teens fighting for survival is your thing. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "What to watch next after your Stranger Things season 3 binge ends," 7 July 2019 Midfielder Sacha Kljestan’s red card threw Orlando into a disaster situation of playing two men down, forcing the team to settle into survival mode to avoid a potential blowout. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Three things we learned from Orlando City’s 3-1 loss to Philadelphia," 6 July 2019 Much hotter than that and the plant goes into survival mode and won’t set fruit. Jeanette Marantos,, "Want a bumper crop of tomatoes? Listen to this guy," 3 July 2019 The quarterback situations at these eight schools will be fascinating case studies for how having multiple quasi-reliable options at such a critical position keep ambitious teams out of survival mode this year. Scooby Axson,, "Eight Teams With the Closest Thing to Quarterback Depth in the Transfer Portal Era," 21 June 2019 There’s a lot to love from its original survival mode. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Bethesda ships Fallout 76's canvas bags and EA dubs loot boxes "surprise mechanics"," 17 June 2019

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

8 Aug 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).


to shake or wave menacingly

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