a means of supporting one's existence, especially financially or vocationally; living: to earn a livelihood as a tenant farmer.
Origin: before 1000; earlier liveliod, livelihod, alteration (by reanalysis as lively + hood; compare obsolete livelihood liveliness) of Middle Englishlivelod,Old Englishlīflād conduct of life, way of life (see life, lode, load)
c.1300, livelode "means of keeping alive," from O.E. lifad "course of life," from lif "life" + lad "way, course" (see load). Spelling assimilated 16c. to words in -hood. Earlier livelihood was a different word, meaning "liveliness."