[ suhs-tuh-nuh ns ]
/ ˈsʌs tə nəns /


means of sustaining life; nourishment.
means of livelihood.
the process of sustaining.
the state of being sustained.

Nearby words

  1. sustained-action tablet,
  2. sustained-release,
  3. sustainer,
  4. sustaining pedal,
  5. sustaining program,
  6. sustentacular,
  7. sustentacular cell,
  8. sustentaculum,
  9. sustentation,
  10. sustentation fund

Origin of sustenance

1250–1300; Middle English sustena(u)nce < Anglo-French; Old French sostenance. See sustain, -ance

Related formssus·te·nance·less, adjectivenon·sus·te·nance, nounself-sus·te·nance, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sustenance

British Dictionary definitions for sustenance


/ (ˈsʌstənəns) /


means of sustaining health or life; nourishment
means of maintenance; livelihood
Also: sustention (səˈstɛnʃən) the act or process of sustaining or the quality of being sustained

Word Origin for sustenance

C13: from Old French sostenance, from sustenir to sustain

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 sustenance



c.1300, "means of living, subsistence, livelihood," from Old French sustenance (French soutenance), from Late Latin sustinentia "endurance," from Latin sustinens, present participle of sustinere (see sustain). Meaning "action of sustaining life by food" is from late 14c. Sense of "nourishment" is recorded from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper