the state or fact of subsisting.
the state or fact of existing.
the providing of sustenance or support.
means of supporting life; a living or livelihood.
the source from which food and other items necessary to exist are obtained.
existence, especially of an independent entity.
the quality of having timeless or abstract existence.
mode of existence or that by which a substance is individualized.

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin subsistentia; see subsist, -ence

intersubsistence, noun
nonsubsistence, noun
presubsistence, noun
self-subsistence, noun

subsidence, subsistence.

3. survival, maintenance, nourishment. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
subsistence (səbˈsɪstəns)
1.  the means by which one maintains life
2.  the act or condition of subsisting
3.  a thing that has real existence
4.  the state of being inherent
5.  philosophy See also nonbeing an inferior mode of being ascribed to the references of general terms which do not in fact exist

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 15c., "existence, independence," from L.L. subsistentia "substance, reality," from L. subsistens, prp. of subsistere "stand still or firm," from sub "under, up to" + sistere "to assume a standing position," from stare "to stand" (see assist). Properly a loan-translation
of Gk. hypostasis "subsistence," lit. "anything placed under." Meaning "provision of support for animal life" is from 1640s. Subsist (v.) is attested from 1540s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
With little means of subsistence or livelihood in the delta countryside, many
  of the tribal members have migrated to the cities.
If you could cure his defect, he would be without a means of subsistence, he
  would have no livelihood.
Years of begging and bare subsistence followed until he died.
New levels of philanthropic investments can propel them beyond the subsistence
  support that has been far too customary.
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