As a wise man once said, “The history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat.” That’s survival in a nutshell. It’s the act of continuing to live, usually when others fail.

As the Bee Gees put it in disco’s heyday — survival means “staying alive.” If you look closely, you’ll spot viv in the middle of survival. That’s part of the Latin verb vivere, meaning “to live.” You might recognize it from words like vivid "lively" and vivacious "full of life." Combine it with sur- (over) and you’ll grasp the essence of survival: to keep existing despite hardship or after others die. Charles Darwin’s term survival of the fittest means that only the best equipped live will reproduce and survive.

Definitions of survival

n a state of surviving; remaining alive

a means of surviving
Type of:
aliveness, animation, life, living
the condition of living or the state of being alive

n a natural process resulting in the evolution of organisms best adapted to the environment

natural selection, selection, survival of the fittest
Type of:
action, activity, natural action, natural process
a process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by the intent of human beings)

n something that survives

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custom, usage, usance
accepted or habitual practice
hangover, holdover
something that has survived from the past
a custom that is peculiar to the United States or its citizens
Anglicism, Britishism
a custom that is peculiar to England or its citizens
a custom or usage that has acquired the force of law
a custom among some peoples whereby the husband of a pregnant wife is put to bed at the time of bearing the child
a custom that is peculiar to Germany or its citizens
habit, use
(psychology) an automatic pattern of behavior in reaction to a specific situation; may be inherited or acquired through frequent repetition
the custom in some Islamic societies of women dressing modestly outside the home
rite, ritual
any customary observance or practice
Type of:
continuance, continuation
the act of continuing an activity without interruption

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