View synonyms for subsistence


[ suhb-sis-tuhns ]


  1. the state or fact of subsisting.
  2. the state or fact of existing.
  3. the providing of sustenance or support.

    Synonyms: nourishment, maintenance, survival

  4. means of supporting life; a living or livelihood.
  5. the source from which food and other items necessary to exist are obtained.
  6. Philosophy.
    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.


/ səbˈsɪstəns /


  1. the means by which one maintains life
  2. the act or condition of subsisting
  3. a thing that has real existence
  4. the state of being inherent
  5. philosophy an inferior mode of being ascribed to the references of general terms which do not in fact exist See 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

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Other Words From

  • inter·sub·sistence noun
  • nonsub·sistence noun
  • presub·sistence noun
  • self-sub·sistence noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of subsistence1

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin subsistentia; subsist, -ence
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Example Sentences

Last year, she received a Fulbright US Scholar Award to return to subsistence fishing villages outside the Brazilian city of Recife where she had organized a US-Brazil student project in the summer of 1965.

They were just subsistence farmers and they wanted to be left alone.

It is natural that rural Guatemalans or subsistence farmers in Kenya, facing drought or scorching heat, would seek out someplace more stable and resilient.

Income allows us in one period of time be able to pay our bills, be able to have subsistence in our life.

For farmers who are mainly focused on subsistence farming, the upside includes optimizing underutilized vast pieces of land, earning extra income and getting access to market through Komaza’s wood processing and sales operations.

From Quartz

These are young fathers, rural farmers, usually growing banana or coffee or subsistence crops.

Committee on Natural Resources draft bill discussion—“The Alaska Native Subsistence Co-Management Demonstration Act of 2014”

The absence of a minimum wage law results in many workers earning below subsistence levels.

Hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers work hard to obtain every calorie they eat.

Moreover, the settlements rely for their subsistence on profligate funding and services provided by the state of Israel.

It was difficult, with the mean appliances of the time, to wring subsistence from the reluctant earth.

It has no connection as yet with the question of the total available means of subsistence.

The citizens, on a short notice of 20 days, were deprived of the means of gaining a subsistence.

According to Moro custom the fruit of a manʼs labour belongs to the Datto who gives the man a subsistence.

Thus he could readily obtain the means of subsistence by aid of the arts and weapons employed by him in the tropical forests.


Related Words




subsistsubsistence allowance