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Survival is a noun meaning the state or fact of continuing to live or exist especially in spite of difficult conditions. It also means something from an earlier period that still exists or is done.[1]

It suggests the struggle to remain living: self-preservation

Survival may also refer to liviing through a dangerous or emergency situation, perhaps in extreme weather, wilderness, or environments.

Survival! is a 1984 collection of science fiction stories by survival fiction author Gordon Dickson, the author of the best-selling Wolf and Iron (1990).


  • "The refugees depend on FEMA for their survival."
  • "Under ObamaCare, small businesses are fighting/struggling for survival."
  • "the survival of an old folktale"
  • "The doctor said her chance of survival [chance that she would get better and continue to live] was about 50 percent."

The word survival is often used before another noun.

The second meaning of survival is "something from an earlier period that still exists or is done" — usually singular. e.g.

  • "The holiday custom is a survival from colonial times."
  • "survival of the fittest" (natural selection) — used to refer to a situation in which only the people or things that are strongest, most skillful, etc., are able to succeed or to continue to exist
  • "In the business world, it's survival of the fittest."


First known use is 1598. Others say, 1425–75; late Middle English.

Middle English surviven, from Old French sourvivre, from Latin supervīvere : super-, super- + vīvere, to live; ("to outlive"), from Latin super ("over") + vivere ("to live"), akin to vita ("life").[2]



noun: continuation, continuity, endurance, durability, continuance noun something that survives: vestige, relic, remnant, remainder noun endurance: continuation, relic, natural selection

More words related to survival: continuance, duration, constancy, continuation, endurance, extension, guts, longevity, period, permanence, perpetuation, protraction, run, term, vitality.[4]


extinction,[5] death, perishment (perish), non-existence, discontinuance


  • “What to do if you find yourself stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder you can't move, with no hope of rescue. Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your current circumstances seems more likely, consider how lucky you are that it won't be troubling you much longer.”

― Douglas Adams, The Original Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Radio Scripts

  • "The survival of the fittest"


  1. Accessed December 14, 2014
  2. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
  3. Accessed December 12, 2014
  4. Accessed December 14, 2014
  5. Accessed December 14, 2014

External links