life support

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life support (uncountable)

  1. An artificial system designed to provide oxygen in an environment that lacks oxygen.
  2. A machine that keeps the body of an ill or injured person alive.
  3. (figuratively) Means of sustaining existence or continuation of something, usually in an artificial manner when it should have changed or terminated in its natural environment.
    • 2011, Francis Tapon, The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us, p. 135
      As we've seen, Belarus is a Soviet time capsule that continues only because Russia is keeping it on life support.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Used with the preposition on: "the patient is on life support".