sus·tain·able | \sə-ˈstā-nə-bəl \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sustainable

sustainability \sə-ˌstā-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
sustainably \sə-ˈstā-nə-blē \ 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

Like so many coastal fisheries, the gamba roja was sustainable when fishing was limited to small boats that stuck fairly close to the coast. Wendy Mitman Clarke, Smithsonian, "How a Fallback to Historic Traditions Might Save Catalonia’s Red Shrimp Fishery," 5 July 2018 With the help of Cuban’s team, Reely Hooked has been retooling the business to be more sustainable, and just began selling again to about 14 restaurants and retail stores, said Arcaro, 41. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "Boynton Beach incubator and commissary cooking up new food businesses," 5 July 2018 If drones ruled the waves, fisheries would be more sustainable, pollution would be reduced and human trafficking would be harder to get away with. The Economist, "Avast, me hearties," 5 July 2018 The Summer Work Out and Starve Myself Diet: Six hours at the gym a day plus drastic caloric restriction: not sustainable, not healthy. Jes Baker, SELF, "Nope, I’m Not Trying to Lose Weight," 26 June 2018 Its practices are sustainable, including drip irrigation and composting. Pam Peirce,, "Manhattan’s High Line park offers lessons for SF greenbelts," 15 June 2018 For winemakers, the shift makes sense: Less packaging weight means more sustainable, less expensive shipping. Mark Byrne, GQ, "You Could Use a Style Upgrade," 21 Apr. 2018 But that strategy may not be sustainable, especially as China continues to nurture its powerful, and increasingly popular, homegrown film industry. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Hollywood and the Limits of China's Box Office," 3 Apr. 2018 Chad Houck, owner of H2 Markets, which runs the events, said the gathering of food trucks in the hotel parking lot was not attracting enough customers to be financially sustainable. Libby Solomon,, "Food Truck Wednesdays a bust in Timonium, closed after less than two months," 11 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of sustainable

1924, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sustainable

Share sustainable

Statistics for sustainable

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sustainable

The first known use of sustainable was in 1924

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sustainable



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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!