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[ser-vahy-vuh l] /sərˈvaɪ vəl/
the act or fact of surviving, especially under adverse or unusual circumstances.
a person or thing that survives or endures, especially an ancient custom, observance, belief, or the like.
Anthropology. (no longer in technical use) the persistence of a cultural trait, practice, or the like long after it has lost its original meaning or usefulness.
of, relating to, or for use in surviving, especially under adverse or unusual circumstances:
survival techniques.
Origin of survival
1590-1600; survive + -al2
Related forms
nonsurvival, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for survival
  • The good news is that early detection and new treatments have improved survival rates.
  • For evolutionists, everything begins and ends with the question of survival.
  • Some of their survival strategies are nothing short of ingenious.
  • Mice that are color-matched to their surroundings have a survival advantage over mismatched mice in each of the two habitats.
  • For some people, that first whiff of the uncorrupted outdoors might trigger a set of survival instincts.
  • The entire trip from launch to splashdown was one big survival game and it's no difference from ours.
  • survival rates for brain tumors vary widely depending on the type of tumor and other factors, including age.
  • In fact, not being surprised is a survival strategy.
  • Half of its people depend on livestock for their survival.
  • Get ready for the unthinkable with reviews of the latest survival guides.
British Dictionary definitions for survival


a person or thing that survives, such as a custom
  1. the act or fact of surviving or condition of having survived
  2. (as modifier): survival kit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for survival

1590s, from survive + -al (2). Phrase survival of the fittest was used by Spencer in place of Darwin's natural selection.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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