Definition of survive in English:

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Pronunciation: /səˈvʌɪv/


[no object]
1Continue to live or exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship: against all odds the child survived
More example sentences
  • They all needed to be pulling in the same direction in order to continue to survive.
  • Let's not kid ourselves, it is the type of cancer treatment available and where you live which determines who survives.
  • After Mr Russell was diagnosed he was given six months to live but survived for 15 years.
remain alive, live, sustain oneself, cling to life, pull through, get through, hold on, hold out, make it, keep body and soul together
continue, remain, last, persist, endure, live on, persevere, abide, go on, keep on, carry on, stay around, linger, be extant, exist, be
1.1 [with object] Continue to live or exist in spite of (an accident or ordeal): he has survived several assassination attempts
More example sentences
  • It is one thing to survive a terrible ordeal and another to learn to live with the fallout.
  • The humans who survived the disaster lived in a floating space colony.
  • After surviving the tragic ordeal, the infant has been united with her real father.
1.2 [with object] Remain alive after the death of (a particular person): he was survived by his wife and six children (as adjective surviving) there were no surviving relatives
More example sentences
  • It is necessary that surviving family members remain together.
  • He said employers' schemes should not be required to link payments to inflation or to pay surviving partners after death.
  • Her special companion preceded her in death and she is survived by many close friends.
outlive, outlast, live (on) after, live longer than, remain alive after
1.3Manage to keep going in difficult circumstances: she had to work day and night and survive on two hours' sleep
More example sentences
  • Frosh week was when I learned how to survive on one hour of sleep and still have a fantastic day.
  • You learn how to wake up at the slightest sound and survive on less sleep than Mrs Thatcher.
  • The American economy can take many shocks and it will still survive somehow because of its tremendous depth.


Late Middle English: from Old French sourvivre, from Latin supervivere, from super- 'in addition' + vivere 'live'.

  • Survive entered English via Old French from Latin supervivere, based on vivere ‘to live’, as in revive (Late Middle English), vivacious (mid 17th century), and vivid (mid 17th century). According to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, those animals and plants which tend to survive and produce more offspring are the ones best adapted to their environment, while those less well adapted become extinct. The idea is summed up in the phrase the survival of the fittest, which was coined by the English philosopher and sociologist Herbert Spencer in Principles of Biology (1865). Darwin himself had originally used the term natural selection, but approved of Spencer's version. Beyond its technical use the phrase is often used loosely to suggest that the strongest or most ruthless will succeed at the expense of others, though this is a distortion of the original Darwinian notion.

Words that rhyme with survive

alive, arrive, chive, Clive, connive, contrive, deprive, dive, drive, five, gyve, hive, I've, jive, live, MI5, revive, rive, shrive, skive, strive, swive, thrive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sur|vive

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