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verb (used without object), sur·vived, sur·viv·ing.
  1. to remain alive after the death of someone, the cessation of something, or the occurrence of some event; continue to live: Few survived after the holocaust.
  2. to remain or continue in existence or use: Ancient farming methods still survive in the Middle East.
  3. to get along or remain healthy, happy, and unaffected in spite of some occurrence: She's surviving after the divorce.
verb (used with object), sur·vived, sur·viv·ing.
  1. to continue to live or exist after the death, cessation, or occurrence of: His wife survived him. He survived the operation.
  2. to endure or live through (an affliction, adversity, misery, etc.): She's survived two divorces.

Origin of survive

1425–75; late Middle English < Middle French survivre < Latin supervīvere, equivalent to super- super- + vīvere to live; see sur-1, vivid
Related formsself-sur·viv·ing, adjectiveun·sur·vived, adjectiveun·sur·viv·ing, adjective

Synonyms for survive

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1. persist, succeed. Survive, outlive refer to remaining alive longer than someone else or after some event. Survive usually means to succeed in keeping alive against odds, to live after some event that has threatened one: to survive an automobile accident. It is also used of living longer than another person (usually a relative), but, today, mainly in the passive, as in the fixed expression: The deceased is survived by his wife and children. Outlive stresses capacity for endurance, the time element, and sometimes a sense of competition: He outlived all his enemies. It is also used, however, of a person or object that has lived or lasted beyond a certain point: He has outlived his usefulness. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for survive

Contemporary Examples of survive

Historical Examples of survive

  • There are too many things which survive which ought to be killed off.

  • He should survive, even if the event were indefinitely postponed.

  • She could not understand how Kingozi managed to survive ten hours day after day.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Granada may yet survive, if monarch and people unite together.

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • I cancel the oath now, for the knowledge of it should survive his life and mine.

British Dictionary definitions for survive


  1. (tr) to live after the death of (another)he survived his wife by 12 years
  2. to continue in existence or use after (a passage of time, an adversity, etc)
  3. informal to endure (something)I don't know how I survive such an awful job
Derived Formssurvivable, adjectivesurvivability, noun

Word Origin for survive

C15: from Old French sourvivre, from Latin supervīvere, from super- + vīvere to live
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 survive

early 15c., "act or condition of one person outliving another," originally in the legal (inheritance) sense, from Anglo-French survivre, Old French souvivre, from Latin supervivere "live beyond, live longer than," from super "over, beyond" (see super-) + vivere "to live" (see vivid). Related: Survived; surviving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper