a person or thing that survives.
Law. the one of two or more designated persons, as joint tenants or others having a joint interest, who outlives the other or others.
a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.

Origin of survivor

First recorded in 1495–1505; survive + -or2
Related formsnon·sur·vi·vor, nounself-sur·vi·vor, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for survivors

Contemporary Examples of survivors

Historical Examples of survivors

  • The endless struggle for life had taught the survivors many things.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • These excepted, the only survivors of this tragic scene were Capts.

  • But when he came to count up his survivors he was not so pleased.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Many were killed, and the survivors, with their spirits crushed, returned to work.

    A Zola Dictionary

    J. G. Patterson

  • The survivors could do nothing to help the dead or the dying.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

British Dictionary definitions for survivors



a person or thing that survives
property law one of two or more specified persons having joint interests in property who lives longer than the other or others and thereby becomes entitled to the whole property
Derived Formssurvivorship, 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 survivors



c.1500, in the legal sense of "one who outlives another," agent noun from survive. Meaning "one who has a knack for pulling through adversity" is attested from 1971. Survivor syndrome is first recorded 1968.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper