Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[suhs-tuh-nuh ns] /ˈsʌs tə nəns/
means of sustaining life; nourishment.
means of livelihood.
the process of sustaining.
the state of being sustained.
Origin of sustenance
1250-1300; Middle English sustena(u)nce < Anglo-French; Old French sostenance. See sustain, -ance
Related forms
sustenanceless, adjective
nonsustenance, noun
self-sustenance, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for sustenance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What do they do but live and suck in sustenance and grow fat?

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • We found a farmer just up, and made him give us sustenance for ourselves and our horses.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • How can I turn to another for the sustenance which you alone can give?

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • He was paying for his own sustenance, and with the first money he had ever earned.

    The Wall Street Girl Frederick Orin Bartlett
  • I could not tell what sort of sustenance she would look for from my sagacity.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • I respond to you, 'Captain, I cannot refuse, for I am dying for lack of sustenance.

British Dictionary definitions for sustenance


means of sustaining health or life; nourishment
means of maintenance; livelihood
Also sustention (səˈstɛnʃən). the act or process of sustaining or the quality of being sustained
Word Origin
C13: from Old French sostenance, from sustenir to sustain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for sustenance

c.1300, "means of living, subsistence, livelihood," from Old French sustenance (French soutenance), from Late Latin sustinentia "endurance," from Latin sustinens, present participle of sustinere (see sustain). Meaning "action of sustaining life by food" is from late 14c. Sense of "nourishment" is recorded from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for sustenance

Word Value for sustenance

Scrabble Words With Friends