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

He and his colleagues came to this conclusion after monitoring the survival of trees following fires that took place during the dry 1997–1998 El Niño. Meghie Rodrigues, Scientific American, "Why Amazon Trees Are Especially Vulnerable to This Year’s Fires," 13 Sep. 2019 Much like Vibranium, the Heart Shaped Herb is essential to the survival and prosperity of Wakanda. David Canfield,, "An original Black Panther novel centered on Shuri will publish next year," 4 Sep. 2019 The beach pirate approach to survival is, of course, where humans and gulls clash. James Gorman, New York Times, "In Defense of Sea Gulls: They’re Smart, and They Co-Parent, 50/50 All the Way," 26 Aug. 2019 In other words, rainforests are vital to the survival of the planet. Rose Stokes,, "Environmental Horror & Political Scandal: What You Need To Know About The Amazon Rainforest Fires," 24 Aug. 2019 The situation at Gigg Lane was decidedly bleak before the announcement was made, with much of the fan-base having lost hope in the survival of their beloved Shakers., "6 Football-Related Tattoos Fans Could Potentially Get This Season," 24 Aug. 2019 Should people be asked to sacrifice their physical and mental health — and their experience of life as something other than an exhausting, hopeless slog — for the survival of their families? Emily Guendelsberger, Vox, "I was a fast-food worker. Let me tell you about burnout.," 15 July 2019 Winning the support of this emerging social class and harnessing its political energies will be crucial to the survival—and revival—of social-democratic parties across Europe. Omar G. Encarnación, The New York Review of Books, "Will Spain Be the Savior of Social Democracy in Europe?," 28 May 2019 These gangs were born as a reflection of a broken society [and] created a mindset that this lifestyle is the only chance of survival. Rick Kogan,, "Brave book ‘Chicagohoodz’ offers an illustrated history, of sorts, of Chicago street gangs," 26 Aug. 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

19 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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