[ suhb-sis-tuhns ]
/ səbˈsɪs təns /


the state or fact of subsisting.
the state or fact of existing.
the providing of sustenance or support.
means of supporting life; a living or livelihood.
the source from which food and other items necessary to exist are obtained.
  1. existence, especially of an independent entity.
  2. the quality of having timeless or abstract existence.
  3. mode of existence or that by which a substance is individualized.

Origin of subsistence

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin subsistentia; see subsist, -ence
SYNONYMS FOR subsistence
Related formsin·ter·sub·sist·ence, nounnon·sub·sist·ence, nounpre·sub·sist·ence, nounself-sub·sist·ence, noun
Can be confusedsubsidence subsistence Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-subsistence

British Dictionary definitions for self-subsistence


/ (səbˈsɪstəns) /


the means by which one maintains life
the act or condition of subsisting
a thing that has real existence
the state of being inherent
philosophy an inferior mode of being ascribed to the references of general terms which do not in fact existSee also nonbeing
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

Word Origin and History for self-subsistence



early 15c., "existence, independence," from Late Latin subsistentia "substance, reality," from Latin subsistens, present participle of subsistere "stand still or firm," from sub "under, up to" (see sub-) + sistere "to assume a standing position," from stare "to stand" (see assist). Properly a loan-translation of Greek hypostasis "subsistence," literally "anything placed under." Meaning "provision of support for animal life" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper