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sustain +‎ -able


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


sustainable (comparative more sustainable, superlative most sustainable)

  1. Able to be sustained.
  2. Able to be produced or sustained for an indefinite period without damaging the environment, or without depleting a resource; renewable.
    sustainable economy
    • 2008, Kate L. Harrison, The Green Bride Guide[1], →ISBN, page 174:
      In addition to the resources listed in the organic and local food sections earlier, a good source of sustainable meat is Heritage Foods USA (
    • 2008 August–October, Dawn Brighid, "A Taste of Hope", in Organic Gardening, ISSN 1536-108X, volume 55, number 6, page 73 [2]:
      Some critics have asserted that sustainable food is "elitist"; that it's too expensive and not widely available.
    • 2010, Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw[3], →ISBN, page 129:
      A city on a hill—or many cities on hills—surrounded by unbroken vistas of beautiful countryside; small, thriving, family-run farms growing organic, seasonal, and sustainable fruits and vegetables specific to the region.
    • 2019, Jason Hickel, “Climate breakdown is coming. The UK needs a Greener New Deal”, in Guardian.:
      Right now, rich nations devour 28 tonnes of material per person per year – including everything from fish to forests, plastics to metals. That’s four times more than ecologists say is sustainable.

Related terms[edit]


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sustainable (plural sustainables)

  1. A renewable energy source.
    • 1996, Joseph Francis Coates, John B. Mahaffie, Andy Hines, 2025: Scenarios of U.S. and Global Society Reshaped by Science and Technology, page 117:
      It has only been in the last 20 years that the long-term trend away from fossil fuels and toward nuclear energy and sustainables has intensified.