1. The supporting of life or health; maintenance or means of livelihood: The factory provides sustenance for half the town.
2. Something, especially food, that sustains life or health: looking for sustenance in the kitchen.
3. Something that sustains something else; essential support: researchers seeking financial sustenance.
[Middle English, from Old French, from sustenir, to sustain; see SUSTAIN.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.