sur·​viv·​al·​ist | \ sər-ˈvī-və-list How to pronounce survivalist (audio) \

Definition of survivalist

: a person who advocates or practices survivalism especially : one who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society

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Other Words from survivalist

survivalist adjective

Examples of survivalist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The new Kikkeland Crab Multi Tool might not be perfect for a survivalist's trip in the woods. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Cute Crab Multitool Is Perfect for Your Picnic," 16 Nov. 2016 The book tells the unforgettable true story of Westover’s life growing up in rural Idaho as a daughter of survivalists, who prepared for the end of the world and shunned official entities like the government, hospitals, and schools. Vox Staff, Vox, "The most thought-provoking books the Vox staff read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 My daughter, a tooth brush, and survivalist Bear Grylls who was in that show called Man vs. Wild. Tess Kornfeld, Glamour, "We Asked Padma Lakshmi: What's Your Most Irrational Fear?," 6 Dec. 2018 Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode certainly knows that, which is why the later entries in the franchise (specifically H20 and the new film) have shown her morphing into a paranoid survivalist. Aja Romano, Vox, "Halloween’s post-credits “scene,” explained," 20 Oct. 2018 And with every experiment in Gore-Tex and neoprene since, they’ve become emboldened to incorporate survivalist accents into their collections. Mackenzie Wagoner, Glamour, "How Athleisure Evolved Into Fashion's Obsession With All Things Outdoors," 20 Nov. 2018 Taking iodine supplements prevents a buildup of Iodine-131, which is why survivalists stock iodine tablets in their fallout shelters. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Report Says European Mystery Radiation Isn't Real. That Isn't Stopping an Air Force Investigation.," 22 Feb. 2017 Fourteen-year-old Turtle is growing up feral in Northern California, raised by her father to be a self-reliant survivalist. Joumana Khatib, New York Times, "New in Paperback: ‘Sapiens,’ ‘Men Without Women’," 29 June 2018 Past survivalists have dealt with horrible weather and flesh-eating bacteria, while one contestant was even stung by a yellow jacket in the most unfortunate of areas. Steve Helling,, "Naked and Afraid Survivalists Go Head to Head with A 'Huge' Caiman," 8 Apr. 2018

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

1970, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for survivalist

Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for survivalist

The first known use of survivalist was in 1970

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More Definitions for survivalist



English Language Learners Definition of survivalist

: a person who believes that government and society will soon fail completely and who stores food, weapons, etc., in order to be prepared to survive when that happens

Comments on survivalist

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


a secret plot to overthrow a government

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