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[suhs-tuh n-tey-shuh n] /ˌsʌs tənˈteɪ ʃən/
maintenance in being or activity; the sustaining of life through vital processes.
provision with means or funds for upkeep.
means of sustaining life; sustenance.
Origin of sustentation
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin sustentātiōn- (stem of sustentātiō) an upholding, equivalent to sustentāt(us) (past participle of sustentāre, frequentative of sustinēre to sustain) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
sustentational, adjective
[suhs-tuh n-tey-tiv, suh-sten-tuh-tiv] /ˈsʌs tənˌteɪ tɪv, səˈstɛn tə tɪv/ (Show IPA),
self-sustentation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sustentation
Historical Examples
  • Power of sustentation; the quality of sustaining a weight in the air.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • She wishes you to give her a legal promise of marriage, and sustentation.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • This defection from within not made up by sustentation from without.

  • Now, Nature is sufficient of itself, not only for sustentation, but also for creation.

    Evolution Joseph Le Conte
  • The one concerns the laws of sustentation of the system, the other the laws of evolution.

    Evolution Joseph Le Conte
  • In Flanders there are permanent funds, &c. for the sustentation of the poor.

  • But the writer has perhaps learned to regard two glasses of meridian wine as but a moderate amount of sustentation.

    Dr. Wortle's School

    Anthony Trollope
  • Straight planes were tried for a time, but found greatly lacking in the power of sustentation.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • This is done to meet the varying gusts and eddies of the air so that sustentation may be maintained and headway made.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • Deriving its power of sustentation from the gas contained in the gas-bag, the free balloon is spherical in form.

British Dictionary definitions for sustentation


a less common word for sustenance
Word Origin
C14: from Latin sustentātio, from sustentāre, frequentative of sustinēre 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
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Word Origin and History for sustentation

late 14c., from Anglo-French, Old French sustenacion, from Latin sustenationem (nominative sustenatio), noun of action from past participle stem of sustenare, frequentative of sustinere (see sustain).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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