verb (used without object)

  1. to exist; continue in existence.
  2. to remain alive; live, as on food, resources, etc.
  3. to have existence in, or by reason of, something.
  4. to reside, lie, or consist (usually followed by in).
  5. Philosophy.
    1. to have timeless or abstract existence, as a number, relation, etc.
    2. to have existence, especially independent existence.

verb (used with object)

  1. to provide sustenance or support for; maintain.

verb (mainly intr)

  1. (often foll by on) to be sustained; manage to liveto subsist on milk
  2. to continue in existence
  3. (foll by in) to lie or reside by virtue (of); consist
  4. philosophy
    1. to exist as a concept or relation rather than a fact
    2. to be conceivable
  5. (tr) obsolete to provide with support

v.1540s, “to exist,” from Latin subsistere “to stand still or firm,” (see subsistence). Meaning “to support oneself” (in a certain way) is from 1640s. Related: Subsisted; subsisting.

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