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

Cleggmania—when Britain fell briefly in love with Nick Clegg, the party’s then-leader, in one mad spring in 2010—was not sustainable. The Economist, "The Lib Dems are back. Who will lead them?," 15 June 2019 The usual packaged stroopwafels and for-sale snack boxes in coach were replaced with free meals emphasizing relatively sustainable options. Lauren Zumbach,, "Airlines turn to sustainable fuels, carbon offsets, compostable cutlery to fend off environmental 'flight shame' stigma," 14 June 2019 Students at Foothill College are not the only ones struggling to find sustainable housing in the midst of the Bay Area’s growing crisis. Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, "Bay Area homeless students ask community, officials to stop stigmatizing them," 14 June 2019 On a parallel track to Bowlen’s desire to do anything to make the Broncos a sustainable winner was his effort to grow the sport as a whole. Ryan O'halloran, The Denver Post, "Pat Bowlen dies: Hall of Fame Broncos owner was 75," 14 June 2019 With $25 million in debt, a $20 million operating budget and 491 undergraduate students, the college's finances weren't sustainable, Marygrove President Elizabeth Burns told the Free Press last year. Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit's 92-year-old Marygrove College to close in December," 12 June 2019 This strict control minimizes the risks to climbers and the impact on the environment, allowing sustainable management of expeditions without casualities—which was achieved in 2018. Yana Wengel, Quartzy, "The deaths on Mount Everest prove adventure tourism is out of control," 11 June 2019 Its deep discounting strategy, however, wasn’t sustainable. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Nearly half of all food-delivery transactions in India in 2018 happened on Swiggy," 6 June 2019 Somewhere between 18,000—19,000 feet, the human body enters a state of decay, above which life is not permanently sustainable. National Geographic, "Here's what it's like to live at Everest base camp," 16 May 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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Statistics for sustainable

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

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The first known use of sustainable was in 1924

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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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