[ lahyf-suh-pawrt, -pohrt ]

  1. of or relating to equipment or measures that sustain or artificially substitute for essential body functions, as breathing or disposal of body wastes: Without life-support equipment, the patient might die.

  2. of or relating to equipment or measures that provide, within a surrounding hostile environment, as outer space or ocean depths, a life-sustaining environment similar to that found on the earth's surface: the life-support system of a spacecraft or submarine.

  1. of or relating to anything that fosters or sustains life, success, or continued existence, as of a person, thing, or nation: the life-support system of the economy.

Origin of life-support

First recorded in 1955–60

Words Nearby life-support Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use life-support in a sentence

  • He stole my land, driving me back to the forest, which is worthless to him; he killed the buffalo, and took away our life support.

    Menotah | Ernest G. Henham
  • You shall come as a suppliant to me, seeking vengeance on the head of him you now proudly call your life support.'

    Menotah | Ernest G. Henham
  • The savings of early and middle life support old age in honorable rest, and give to children a fair start in life.

    Practical Ethics | William DeWitt Hyde

British Dictionary definitions for life-support


  1. of or providing the equipment required to sustain human life in an unnatural environment, such as in space, or in severe illness or disability

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