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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for subsistence in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


From Late Latin subsistentia (substance, reality, in Medieval Latin also stability), from Latin subsistens, present participle of subsistere (to continue, subsist). See subsist.


  • IPA(key): /səbˈsɪstəns/
    • (file)


subsistence (countable and uncountable, plural subsistences)

  1. Real being; existence.
  2. The act of maintaining oneself at a minimum level.
  3. Inherency.
    the subsistence of qualities in bodies
  4. Something (food, water, money, etc.) that is required to stay alive.
  5. (theology) Embodiment or personification or hypostasis of an underlying principle or quality.


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