Sustenance comes from the word sustain, which means to continue. Sustenance is food or drink that allows you to continue to be alive. For many, prayer is a source of spiritual sustenance.

If your chief source of sustenance is candy, you are going to get sick, but you will have a good time while it lasts. In much of the world, rice and beans provide sustenance to human beings. In the US, Native Americans taught Europeans how to grow corn, which turned into a major source of sustenance for their population.

Definitions of sustenance
  1. noun
    the act of sustaining life by food or providing a means of subsistence
    “they were in want of sustenance
    synonyms: maintenance, sustainment, sustentation, upkeep
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    type of:
    the activity of providing for or maintaining by supplying with money or necessities
  2. noun
    a source of materials to nourish the body
    synonyms: aliment, alimentation, nourishment, nutriment, nutrition, victuals
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    produced by mammary glands of female mammals for feeding their young
    part of a meal served at one time
    dainty, delicacy, goody, kickshaw, treat
    something considered choice to eat
    a particular item of prepared food
    fast food
    inexpensive food (hamburgers or chicken or milkshakes) prepared and served quickly
    finger food
    food to be eaten with the fingers
    solid and liquid nourishment taken into the body through the mouth
    food that fulfills the requirements of Jewish dietary law
    meal, repast
    the food served and eaten at one time
    soft semiliquid food
    food chopped into small bits
    food prepared by cooking and straining or processed in a blender
    heavy and filling (and usually starchy) food
    wheat germ
    embryo of the wheat kernel; removed before milling and eaten as a source of vitamins
    any of a group of organic substances essential in small quantities to normal metabolism
    mother's milk
    milk secreted by a woman who has recently given birth
    colostrum, foremilk
    milky fluid secreted for the first day or two after parturition
    a meal eaten in a mess hall by service personnel
    square meal
    a substantial and nourishing meal
    whatever happens to be available especially when offered to an unexpected guest or when brought by guests and shared by all
    a light meal or repast
    the first meal of the day (usually in the morning)
    combination breakfast and lunch; usually served in late morning
    dejeuner, lunch, luncheon, tiffin
    a midday meal
    afternoon tea, tea, teatime
    a light midafternoon meal of tea and sandwiches or cakes
    the main meal of the day served in the evening or at midday
    a light evening meal; served in early evening if dinner is at midday or served late in the evening at bedtime
    a meal set out on a buffet at which guests help themselves
    any informal meal eaten outside or on an excursion
    bite, collation, snack
    a light informal meal
    a large satisfying meal
    ploughman's lunch
    a meal consisting of a sandwich of bread and cheese and a salad
    banquet, feast, spread
    a meal that is well prepared and greatly enjoyed
    entree, main course
    the principal dish of a meal
    piece de resistance
    the most important dish of a meal
    a dish of marinated vegetables and meat or fish; served with rice
    entremets, side dish, side order
    a dish that is served with, but is subordinate to, a main course
    a dish or meal given prominence in e.g. a restaurant
    food cooked and served in a casserole
    appetiser, appetizer, starter
    food or drink to stimulate the appetite (usually served before a meal or as the first course)
    liquid food especially of meat or fish or vegetable stock often containing pieces of solid food
    food prepared by stewing especially meat or fish with vegetables
    saffron-flavored dish made of rice with shellfish and chicken
    a choice or delicious dish
    choice morsel, tidbit, titbit
    a small tasty bit of food
    savory, savoury
    an aromatic or spicy dish served at the end of dinner or as an hors d'oeuvre
    confection, sweet
    a food rich in sugar
    afters, dessert, sweet
    a dish served as the last course of a meal
    ambrosia, nectar
    (classical mythology) the food and drink of the gods; mortals who ate it became immortal
    a light creamy dish made from fish or meat and set with gelatin
    any of various soft thick unsweetened baked dishes
    sweetened mixture of milk and eggs baked or boiled or frozen
    a dish made by folding a piece of pastry over a filling
    individual serving of minced e.g. meat or fish in a rich creamy sauce baked in a small pastry mold or timbale shell
    fish finger, fish stick
    a long fillet of fish breaded and fried
    gelatin, jelly
    an edible jelly (sweet or pungent) made with gelatin and used as a dessert or salad base or a coating for foods
    buffalo wing
    crisp spicy chicken wings
    barbecued wing
    chicken wings cooked in barbecue sauce
    barbecue, barbeque
    meat that has been barbecued or grilled in a highly seasoned sauce
    biriani, biryani
    an Indian dish made with highly seasoned rice and meat or fish or vegetables
    escalope de veau Orloff
    lightly sauteed veal cutlets spread with a Soubise sauce and liver paste then sprinkled with grated Parmesan and baked briefly
    a dish of sauteed food
    cake, patty
    small flat mass of chopped food
    veal parmesan, veal parmigiana
    sauteed veal cutlet in a breadcrumb-and-cheese coating served with tomato sauce
    veal cordon bleu
    thin slices of veal stuffed with cheese and ham and then sauteed
    sandwich plate
    a serving consisting of a sandwich or sandwiches with garnishes
    snack food
    food for light meals or for eating between meals
    food mixtures either arranged on a plate or tossed and served with a moist dressing; usually consisting of or including greens
    (East Indian cookery) a pungent dish of vegetables or meats flavored with curry powder and usually eaten with rice
    apple sauce, applesauce
    puree of stewed apples usually sweetened and spiced
    boiled egg, coddled egg
    egg cooked briefly in the shell in gently boiling water
    dropped egg, poached egg
    egg cooked in gently boiling water
    scrambled eggs
    eggs beaten and cooked to a soft firm consistency while stirring
    deviled egg, stuffed egg
    halved hard-cooked egg with the yolk mashed with mayonnaise and seasonings and returned to the white
    baked egg, egg en cocotte, shirred egg
    egg cooked individually in cream or butter in a small ramekin
    omelet, omelette
    beaten eggs or an egg mixture cooked until just set; may be folded around e.g. ham or cheese or jelly
    light fluffy dish of egg yolks and stiffly beaten egg whites mixed with e.g. cheese or fish or fruit
    fried egg
    eggs cooked by sauteing in oil or butter; sometimes turned and cooked on both sides
    coq au vin
    chicken and onions and mushrooms braised in red wine and seasonings
    chicken provencale
    chicken cooked in a sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil
    chicken and rice
    rice and chicken cooked together with or without other ingredients and variously seasoned
    moo goo gai pan
    a Cantonese dish of chicken and sauteed vegetables
    bacon and eggs
    eggs (fried or scrambled) served with bacon
    barbecued spareribs, spareribs
    baked or roasted with a spicy sauce
    beef Bourguignonne, boeuf Bourguignonne
    beef and mushrooms and onions stewed in red wine and seasonings
    beef Wellington, filet de boeuf en croute
    rare-roasted beef tenderloin coated with mushroom paste in puff pastry
    a Russian dish made with patties of ground meat (mixed with onions and bread and milk) and served with a sauce of sour cream
    New England boiled dinner, boiled dinner
    corned beef simmered with onions and cabbage and usually other vegetables
    Boston baked beans
    dried navy beans baked slowly with molasses and salt pork
    bubble and squeak
    leftover cabbage fried with cooked potatoes and sometimes meat
    a dish that contains pasta as its main ingredient
    Belgian beef stew, carbonnade flamande
    beef stewed in beer seasoned with garlic and served with boiled potatoes
    chicken Marengo
    braised chicken with onions and mushrooms in a wine and tomato sauce
    chicken cordon bleu
    thin slices of chicken stuffed with cheese and ham and then sauteed
    Maryland chicken
    chicken fried than oven-baked and served with milk gravy
    chicken paprika, chicken paprikash
    chicken simmered in broth with onions and paprika then mixed with sour cream
    a pasta dish with cream sauce and mushrooms
    chicken Kiev
    pounded chicken cutlets rolled around butter (that has been seasoned with herbs) and then covered with crumbs and fried
    chili, chili con carne
    ground beef and chili peppers or chili powder often with tomatoes and kidney beans
    chop suey
    meat or fish stir-fried with vegetables (e.g., celery, onions, peppers or bean sprouts) seasoned with ginger and garlic and soy sauce; served with rice; created in the United States and frequently served in Chinese restaurants there
    chow mein
    chop suey served with fried noodles
    seafood served in a scallop shell
    coquilles Saint-Jacques
    scallops in white wine sauce served in scallop shells
    minced cooked meats or vegetables formed into patties, breaded, and deep-fried
    cottage pie
    a dish of minced meat topped with mashed potatoes
    minced cooked meat or fish coated in egg and breadcrumbs and fried in deep fat
    dolmas, stuffed grape leaves
    well-seasoned rice (with nuts or currants or minced lamb) simmered or braised in stock
    egg roll, spring roll
    minced vegetables and meat wrapped in a pancake and fried
    eggs Benedict
    toasted English muffin topped with ham and a poached egg (or an oyster) and hollandaise sauce
    tortilla with meat filling baked in tomato sauce seasoned with chili
    falafel, felafel
    small croquette of mashed chick peas or fava beans seasoned with sesame seeds
    fish and chips
    fried fish and french-fried potatoes
    fondu, fondue
    hot cheese or chocolate melted to the consistency of a sauce into which bread or fruits are dipped
    fondu, fondue
    cubes of meat or seafood cooked in hot oil and then dipped in any of various sauces
    French toast
    bread slice dipped in egg and milk and fried; topped with sugar or fruit or syrup
    Chinese fried rice, fried rice
    boiled rice mixed with scallions and minced pork or shrimp and quickly scrambled with eggs
    Italian omelet with diced vegetables and meats; cooked until bottom is set then inverted into another pan to cook the top
    frog legs
    hind legs of frogs used as food; resemble chicken and cooked as chicken
    boned poultry stuffed then cooked and covered with aspic; served cold
    fish ball, gefilte fish
    well-seasoned balls of ground fish and eggs and crushed crumbs simmered in fish stock
    made of sheep's or calf's viscera minced with oatmeal and suet and onions and boiled in the animal's stomach
    ham and eggs
    eggs (scrambled or fried) served with ham
    chopped meat mixed with potatoes and browned
    spicy Creole dish of rice and ham, sausage, chicken, or shellfish with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and celery
    kabob, kebab, shish kebab
    cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables
    a dish of rice and hard-boiled eggs and cooked flaked fish
    seafood Newburg
    seafood in Newburg sauce served on toast or rice
    lobster thermidor
    diced lobster mixed with Mornay sauce placed back in the shell and sprinkled with grated cheese and browned
    lutefisk, lutfisk
    dried cod soaked in a lye solution before boiling to give it a gelatinous consistency
    mixed diced fruits or vegetables; hot or cold
    ground meat formed into a ball and fried or simmered in broth
    meat loaf, meatloaf
    a baked loaf of ground meat
    casserole of eggplant and ground lamb with onion and tomatoes bound with white sauce and beaten eggs
    osso buco
    sliced veal knuckle or shin bone cooked with olive oil and wine and tomatoes and served with rice or vegetables
    bone marrow, marrow
    very tender and very nutritious tissue from marrowbones
    pheasant under glass
    a dish of roast pheasant served in a manner characteristic of expensive restaurants
    pilaf, pilaff, pilau, pilaw
    rice cooked in well-seasoned broth with onions or celery and usually poultry or game or shellfish and sometimes tomatoes
    pizza, pizza pie
    Italian open pie made of thin bread dough spread with a spiced mixture of e.g. tomato sauce and cheese
    Hawaiian dish of taro root pounded to a paste and often allowed to ferment
    pork and beans
    dried beans cooked with pork and tomato sauce
    soft food made by boiling oatmeal or other meal or legumes in water or milk until thick
    deep-dish meat and vegetable pie or a meat stew with dumplings
    rijstafel, rijstaffel, rijsttaffel
    dish originating in Indonesia; a wide variety of foods and sauces are served with rice
    Italian rice, risotto
    rice cooked with broth and sprinkled with grated cheese
    a dish consisting of a slice of meat that is rolled around a filling and cooked
    Salisbury steak
    ground beef patty usually with a sauce
    pot roast marinated several days in seasoned vinegar before cooking; usually served with potato dumplings
    shredded cabbage fermented in brine
    scallopine, scallopini
    sauteed cutlets (usually veal or poultry) that have been pounded thin and coated with flour
    large shrimp sauteed in oil or butter and garlic
    Scotch egg
    hard-cooked egg encased in sausage meat then breaded and deep-fried
    Scotch woodcock
    creamy scrambled eggs on toast spread with anchovy paste
    scraps of meat (usually pork) boiled with cornmeal and shaped into loaves for slicing and frying
    spaghetti and meatballs
    spaghetti with meatballs in a tomato sauce
    Spanish rice
    spicy rice with tomatoes and onions and green peppers
    cannibal mound, steak tartare, tartar steak
    ground beef mixed with raw egg and e.g. onions and capers and anchovies; eaten raw
    pepper steak
    strips of steak sauteed with green peppers and onions
    pepper steak, peppered steak, steak au poivre
    steak covered with crushed peppercorns pan-broiled and served with brandy-and-butter sauce
    beef Stroganoff
    sauteed strips of beef and mushrooms in sour cream sauce served with noodles
    stuffed cabbage
    parboiled head of cabbage scooped out and filled with a hash of chopped e.g. beef or ham and baked; served with tomato or cheese sauce
    kishke, stuffed derma
    (Judaism) roasted fowl intestines with a seasoned filling of matzo meal and suet
    stuffed peppers
    parboiled green peppers stuffed usually with rice and meat and baked briefly
    hot stuffed tomato, stuffed tomato
    tomato cases filled with various mixtures and baked briefly
    cold stuffed tomato, stuffed tomato
    tomato cases filled with various salad mixtures and served cold
    fresh corn and lima beans with butter or cream
    thin beef strips (or chicken or pork) cooked briefly at the table with onions and greens and soy sauce
    very thinly sliced raw fish
    rice (with raw fish) wrapped in seaweed
    Swiss steak
    steak braised in tomato and onion mixture
    corn and cornmeal dough stuffed with a meat mixture then wrapped in corn husks and steamed
    tamale pie
    a meat mixture covered with cornbread topping that resembles a Mexican dish
    vegetables and seafood dipped in batter and deep-fried
    beef or chicken or seafood marinated in spicy soy sauce and grilled or broiled
    a pate or fancy meatloaf baked in an earthenware casserole
    Welsh rabbit, Welsh rarebit, rarebit
    cheese melted with ale or beer served over toast
    Wiener schnitzel, schnitzel
    deep-fried breaded veal cutlets
    a tortilla rolled cupped around a filling
    a flour tortilla folded around a filling
    a flat tortilla with various fillings piled on it
    frijoles refritos, refried beans
    dried beans cooked and mashed and then fried in lard with various seasonings
    a spicy dish that originated in northern Africa; consists of pasta steamed with a meat and vegetable stew
    ramekin, ramequin
    a cheese dish made with egg and bread crumbs that is baked and served in individual fireproof dishes
    mold, mould
    a dish or dessert that is formed in or on a mold
    fat-soluble vitamin
    any vitamin that is soluble in fats
    water-soluble vitamin
    any vitamin that is soluble in water
    an Indian stew made of simmered lentils or other legumes
    type of:
    food, nutrient
    any substance that can be metabolized by an animal to give energy and build tissue
  3. noun
    the financial means whereby one lives
    synonyms: bread and butter, keep, livelihood, living, support
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    amenities, comforts, conveniences, creature comforts
    things that make you comfortable and at ease
    means of maintenance of a family or group
    meal ticket
    a source of income or livelihood
    minimal (or marginal) resources for subsisting
    type of:
    available source of wealth; a new or reserve supply that can be drawn upon when needed
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘sustenance'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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