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[ser-vahyv] /sərˈvaɪv/
verb (used without object), survived, surviving.
to remain alive after the death of someone, the cessation of something, or the occurrence of some event; continue to live:
Few survived after the holocaust.
to remain or continue in existence or use:
Ancient farming methods still survive in the Middle East.
to get along or remain healthy, happy, and unaffected in spite of some occurrence:
She's surviving after the divorce.
verb (used with object), survived, surviving.
to continue to live or exist after the death, cessation, or occurrence of:
His wife survived him. He survived the operation.
to endure or live through (an affliction, adversity, misery, etc.):
She's survived two divorces.
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Middle French survivre < Latin supervīvere, equivalent to super- super- + vīvere to live; see sur-1, vivid
Related forms
self-surviving, adjective
unsurvived, adjective
unsurviving, adjective
1. persist, succeed. Survive, outlive refer to remaining alive longer than someone else or after some event. Survive usually means to succeed in keeping alive against odds, to live after some event that has threatened one: to survive an automobile accident. It is also used of living longer than another person (usually a relative), but, today, mainly in the passive, as in the fixed expression: The deceased is survived by his wife and children. Outlive stresses capacity for endurance, the time element, and sometimes a sense of competition: He outlived all his enemies. It is also used, however, of a person or object that has lived or lasted beyond a certain point: He has outlived his usefulness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for survive
  • All life forms live because of their ability to adapt to their environment, ie, fit enough to survive.
  • Despite their success, even they continue to struggle to survive.
  • Gallows humor, perhaps, but it has helped me to survive my condition.
  • Even a few hundred yards away, many native species can't survive.
  • As the world warms up, some species cannot move to cooler climes in time to survive.
  • The finding amazed colleagues, who had never imagined that even a trace of still-soft dinosaur tissue could survive.
  • My question is, is it reasonable to say that my windmill palms can survive outside year-round.
  • The prime minister will probably survive a sleaze inquiry.
  • Such development fragments the landscape, making it difficult for the species to survive.
  • As a result, the villagers turned to hunting and fishing in order to survive.
British Dictionary definitions for survive


(transitive) to live after the death of (another): he survived his wife by 12 years
to continue in existence or use after (a passage of time, an adversity, etc)
(informal) to endure (something): I don't know how I survive such an awful job
Derived Forms
survivable, adjective
survivability, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French sourvivre, from Latin supervīvere, from super- + vīvere to live
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 survive

early 15c., "act or condition of one person outliving another," originally in the legal (inheritance) sense, from Anglo-French survivre, Old French souvivre, from Latin supervivere "live beyond, live longer than," from super "over, beyond" (see super-) + vivere "to live" (see vivid). Related: Survived; surviving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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