See more synonyms for subsistence on
  1. the state or fact of subsisting.
  2. the state or fact of existing.
  3. the providing of sustenance or support.
  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.

Origin of subsistence

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin subsistentia; see subsist, -ence
Related formsin·ter·sub·sist·ence, nounnon·sub·sist·ence, nounpre·sub·sist·ence, nounself-sub·sist·ence, noun
Can be confusedsubsidence subsistence

Synonyms for subsistence

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for subsistence

Contemporary Examples of subsistence

Historical Examples of subsistence

British Dictionary definitions for subsistence


  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 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 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