[ suh-stey-nuh-buh l ]
/ səˈsteɪ nə bəl /


capable of being supported or upheld, as by having its weight borne from below.
pertaining to a system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse: sustainable agriculture. Aquaculture is a sustainable alternative to overfishing.
able to be maintained or kept going, as an action or process: a sustainable negotiation between the two countries.
able to be confirmed or upheld: a sustainable decision.
able to be supported as with the basic necessities or sufficient funds: a sustainable life.

Nearby words

  1. sussed,
  2. sussex,
  3. sussex spaniel,
  4. sustain,
  5. sustainability,
  6. sustainable agriculture,
  7. sustainably,
  8. sustained yield,
  9. sustained-action tablet,
  10. sustained-release

Origin of sustainable

Related formssus·tain·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·sus·tain·a·ble, adjectivenon·sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty, nounun·sus·tain·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sustainable

British Dictionary definitions for sustainable


/ (səˈsteɪnəbəl) /


capable of being sustained
(of economic development, energy sources, etc) capable of being maintained at a steady level without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological damagesustainable development
(of economic growth) non-inflationary
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 sustainable



1610s, "bearable," from sustain + -able. Attested from 1845 in the sense "defensible;" from 1965 with the meaning "capable of being continued at a certain level." Sustainable growth is recorded from 1965. Related: Sustainably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper