[ suh b-sist ]
/ səbˈsɪst /

verb (used without object)

to exist; continue in existence.
to remain alive; live, as on food, resources, etc.
to have existence in, or by reason of, something.
to reside, lie, or consist (usually followed by in).
  1. to have timeless or abstract existence, as a number, relation, etc.
  2. to have existence, especially independent existence.

verb (used with object)

to provide sustenance or support for; maintain.

Origin of subsist

1540–50; < Latin subsistere to remain, equivalent to sub- sub- + sistere to stand, make stand; see stand

Related forms

sub·sist·ing·ly, adverbpre·sub·sist, verb (used without object)self-sub·sist·ing, adjectivesu·per·sub·sist, verb (used without object)

Can be confused

subside subsist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subsisting

British Dictionary definitions for subsisting


/ (səbˈsɪst) /

verb (mainly intr)

(often foll by on) to be sustained; manage to liveto subsist on milk
to continue in existence
(foll by in) to lie or reside by virtue (of); consist
  1. to exist as a concept or relation rather than a fact
  2. to be conceivable
(tr) obsolete to provide with support

Derived Forms

subsistent, adjectivesubsister, noun

Word Origin for subsist

C16: from Latin subsistere to stand firm, from sub- up + sistere to make a stand
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