a person who makes preparations to survive a widespread catastrophe, as an atomic war or anarchy, especially by storing food and weapons in a safe place.

Origin of survivalist

First recorded in 1965–70; survival + -ist
Related formssur·viv·al·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for survivalist

Contemporary Examples of survivalist

British Dictionary definitions for survivalist



  1. a person who believes in ensuring his personal survival of a catastrophic event by arming himself and often by living in the wild
  2. (as modifier)survivalist weapons
Derived Formssurvivalism, noun
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 survivalist

"one who practices outdoor survival skills" (often in anticipation of apocalypse or in fear of government), 1985, from survival + -ist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper