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

Essential Meaning of sustainable

1 : able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed sustainable energy resources a sustainable water supply
2 : involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources sustainable agriculture/farming/techniques
3 : able to last or continue for a long time sustainable development/growth

Full 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

Other Words from sustainable

sustainability \ sə-​ˌstā-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce sustainable (audio) \ noun
sustainably \ sə-​ˈstā-​nə-​blē How to pronounce sustainable (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 Secondhand is an easy and affordable way to be more sustainable. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 10 Jan. 2022 Yet those practices aren’t sustainable for the businesses, Ms. Berlin says. Rachel Feintzeig, WSJ, 10 Jan. 2022 Whether that is sustainable, and whether popular anger represents an existential threat to his rule, is far from clear. Tim Lister, CNN, 6 Jan. 2022 Water use 'is not sustainable' Partially filling that canal and others in Pinal County with groundwater from new wells will only exacerbate another problem in the county. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 4 Jan. 2022 However, this recovery will not be sustainable without emerging economies recovering too. Dambisa Moyo, Wired, 4 Jan. 2022 Any arrangement that doesn't allow you some space to express your own individuality probably isn't sustainable in the long run. Tarot Astrologers,, 3 Jan. 2022 Being sustainable, doing everything from scratch, excited young Binta. Daphne Ewing-chow, Forbes, 1 Jan. 2022 How to be more sustainable this holiday season Want to pay ground rates to ship holiday gifts? Janet Shamlian, CBS News, 23 Dec. 2021

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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The first known use of sustainable was in 1924

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sustainable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sustainable

Nglish: Translation of sustainable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sustainable for Arabic Speakers


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