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From French subsister, from Latin subsistere (to take a stand or position, stand still, stop, stay, remain, continue), from sub (under) + sistere (to cause to stand, place). Compare consist, desist, exist, insist, persist.


subsist (third-person singular simple present subsists, present participle subsisting, simple past and past participle subsisted)

  1. To survive on a minimum of resources.
    • Atterbury
      to subsist on other men's charity
  2. (chiefly philosophy) To have ontological reality; to exist.
    • Alexander Pope
      And makes what happiness we justly call, / Subsist not in the good of one, but all.
  3. To continue; to retain a certain state.
    • Milton
      Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve.


For usage examples of this term, see Citations:subsist.

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