sus·​tain·​able | \ sə-ˈstā-nə-bəl How to pronounce sustainable (audio) \

Definition of sustainable

1 : capable of being sustained
2a : of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged sustainable techniques sustainable agriculture
b : of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods sustainable society

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Other Words from sustainable

sustainability \ sə-​ˌstā-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce sustainability (audio) \ noun
sustainably \ sə-​ˈstā-​nə-​blē How to pronounce sustainably (audio) \ adverb

Examples of sustainable in a Sentence

a line of argument that is probably not sustainable in a public forum against skilled debaters has no sustainable claim to the property without a deed or some other document
Recent Examples on the Web This is not sustainable in a city that brings in $20 million in property taxes each year. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire runoff candidates discuss top issues," 18 Nov. 2019 The question, though — is this offense sustainable?, "“It’s fun to see that there’s people that strategize in the game, they don’t just do the same things over and over,” Henning, retired in Florida, said by telephone this past week.," 16 Nov. 2019 There are a lot of ways to feel about how things went down and whether what has transpired over this ugly, grinding two-game winning streak is sustainable. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "How do we talk about this Browns win over the Steelers? It’s complicated, but it’s a win," 15 Nov. 2019 More wine will have to be produced for an industry to be sustainable, said Odd Wollberg, a winemaker in Norway. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "Scandinavian Wine? A Warming Climate Tempts Entrepreneurs," 9 Nov. 2019 With the economy ground to a halt, those plans are not sustainable. The Economist, "Mexico’s radical president serves up economic mediocrity," 7 Nov. 2019 That made for an easy and fair question to ask: Is that sustainable? Fletcher Page,, "What we learned as Cincinnati football had to 'scratch and claw' at East Carolina," 3 Nov. 2019 But there are elements of the current approach to online shopping that are simply not sustainable. Stuart Milligan, Quartz, "How to make your online shopping more environmentally friendly," 3 Nov. 2019 But with vicious weather events like Hagibis becoming the norm, governments everywhere will be forced to consider whether such costly technocratic solutions are sustainable—and if not, what to replace them with. Paola Rosa-aquino, The New Republic, "The False Comfort of Higher Seawalls," 29 Oct. 2019

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

1924, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for sustainable

Time Traveler

The first known use of sustainable was in 1924

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Statistics for sustainable

Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sustainable.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for sustainable


How to pronounce sustainable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sustainable

: able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed
: involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources
: able to last or continue for a long time

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Comments on sustainable

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


not agreeing with established beliefs

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