9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[suhs-tuh-nuh ns] /ˈsʌs tə nəns/
means of sustaining life; nourishment.
means of livelihood.
the process of sustaining.
the state of being sustained.
Origin of sustenance
1250-1300; Middle English sustena(u)nce < Anglo-French; Old French sostenance. See sustain, -ance
Related forms
sustenanceless, adjective
nonsustenance, noun
self-sustenance, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sustenance
  • The larva pierces the spider's tough skin and sucks its blood for sustenance.
  • Others suckle your scalp to extract your bodily fluids for sustenance.
  • His pigs get almost all of their sustenance from grazing on greens.
  • The only pertinent question is what kind of culture fires our imagination and provides the sustenance of our daily lives.
  • Maybe algae and plants, as the sustenance for all other life.
  • If the research fails, it is because the method of introduction and sustenance is flawed.
  • After the first frost, they retreat to their underground burrows and snooze until spring, drawing their sustenance from body fat.
  • The humps function the same way-storing fat which can be converted to water and energy when sustenance is not available.
  • For their sustenance, flying fish feed on a variety of foods, including plankton.
  • The sweet alcoholic potion revived their spirits, and the chewy hardtack gave sustenance.
British Dictionary definitions for sustenance


means of sustaining health or life; nourishment
means of maintenance; livelihood
Also sustention (səˈstɛnʃən). the act or process of sustaining or the quality of being sustained
Word Origin
C13: from Old French sostenance, from sustenir to sustain
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 sustenance

c.1300, "means of living, subsistence, livelihood," from Old French sustenance (French soutenance), from Late Latin sustinentia "endurance," from Latin sustinens, present participle of sustinere (see sustain). Meaning "action of sustaining life by food" is from late 14c. Sense of "nourishment" is recorded from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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