from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of sustaining.
  • n. The condition of being sustained.
  • n. The supporting of life or health; maintenance: "to deliver in every morning six beeves, forty sheep, and other victuals for my sustenance” ( Jonathan Swift).
  • n. Something, especially food, that sustains life or health.
  • n. Means of livelihood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something that provides support or nourishment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of sustaining; support; maintenance; subsistence.
  • n. That which supports life; food; victuals; provisions; means of living.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An upholding; the act of bearing.
  • n. The act of sustaining; support; maintenance; subsistence: as, the sustenance of life.
  • n. That which supports life; food; provisions; means of living.
  • n. Synonyms Subsistence, etc. See living.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a source of materials to nourish the body
  • n. the financial means whereby one lives
  • n. the act of sustaining life by food or providing a means of subsistence


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French, from sustenir, to sustain; see sustain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, from Old French, from sustenir (14c), from Latin sustenire.


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  • In arid northern and western China, to depend on the land for sustenance is to be poor.

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  • And anyone who would seek to keep you from this love, this light, this source of sustenance, is NEVER thinking about your well-being.

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  • Although the speakers reaffirmed their love and loyalty to the sovereignty and integrity of the state of Israel and the high Judaic standards it should be anchored on, Elik and Yonaton asked Americans to divest themselves of corporations which benefitthe Israeli militaryand put pressure on their elected officials not to cave in under AIPAC pressure, as the assessed such support to counterproductive to long-term sustenance of the State of Israel.

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  • Anyone here enjoy The Destroyer novels by Sapir and Murphy as much as me? gobble gobble gobble Steak is the stuff you can bite into, chew, swallow, and gain sustenance from.

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  • It seems paradoxical to me that people spend their lives dreaming of living full time in a sunny paradise drawing sustenance from the shmoo and with no obligations to fulfill save those voluntarily undertaken and then seem to get pissed off because, having dreamt of this achievement for so long, they find disappointment in attaining the actual goal.

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  • I know precisely which scene you mean, mikepurvis.

    June 13, 2016

  • I love in Legally Blonde when Reese bounces into the library with that big picnic basket, and announces to Viv and Warner's study group that she "brought sustenance."

    December 21, 2006