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- To survive on a minimum of resources.
- 1650, Thomas Browne, “Of the Cameleon”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: […], 2nd edition, London: Printed by A. Miller, for Edw[ard] Dod and Nath[aniel] Ekins, […], OCLC 152706203, 3rd book, page 133:
- It cannot be denied it [the chameleon] is (if not the moſt of any) a very abſtemious animall, and ſuch as by reaſon of its frigidity, paucity of bloud, and latitancy in the winter (about which time the obſervations are often made) will long ſubſist without a viſible ſuſtentation.
- 1709 December 6, Francis Atterbury, A Sermon Preach’d before the Sons of the Clergy, London: Jonah Bowyer, page 28:
- Let us, this day, imitate his Example in both theſe Reſpects ; and whilſt we are enjoying the good things of Life, let us remember Thoſe that want even the Neceſſaries and firſt Conveniences of it : And remember them, as We ourſelves ſhould have deſired to be remembred, had it been our ſad Lot, to ſubſiſt on other Mens Charity.
- (chiefly philosophy) To have ontological reality; to exist.
- 1734, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. […], epistle IV, London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, […], OCLC 960856019, lines 33–36, page 63:
- Remember Man! "the Univerſal Cauſe / "Acts not by partial, but by gen’ral Laws ;["] / And makes what Happineſs we juſtly call / Subſiſt not in the Good of one, but all.
- To retain a certain state; to continue.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book VIII”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 359–63:
- Firm we ſubſiſt, yet poſſible to ſwerve / Since Reaſon not impoſſibly may meet / Some ſpecious object by the Foe ſubornd, / And fall into deception unaware, / Not keeping ſtricteſt watch, as ſhe was warnd.
- 1787, “The History of Europe”, in The Annual Register, or A View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Years 1784 and 1785, volume XXVII, London: Printed by J[ames] Dodsley, in Pall-Mall, OCLC 874176698, chapter VIII, page 134, column 1:
- It was impoſſible that the queen of France [Marie Antoinette] ſhould not be deeply affected by a conteſt, which ſo cloſely involved her neareſt and deareſt connections, and threatened ſo immediate and perhaps irreparable a breach of the harmony and friendſhip ſubſiſting between them.