American English

Definition of subsistence noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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the state of having just enough money or food to stay alive Many families are living below the level of subsistence. to live below (the)subsistence level They had no visible means of subsistence. subsistence agriculture/farming (= growing enough only to live on, not to sell) subsistence crops Our ancestors lived in basic subsistence economies where cash never changed hands. He worked a 16-hour day for a subsistence wage (= enough money to buy only basic items).
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: subsistence