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Related to subsist: vagrant

subsist on (something)

1. To manage to survive on something as the sole or primary source of food. The unique creature has evolved to subsist on tiny organism carried by the stream into its ever-open mouth. When I was in college, I was so broke that I subsisted on nothing but rice, beans, and ramen noodles.
2. To eke out a living on something or some amount of money. I just can't subsist on the amount of money you're paying me, so I'll have to start looking for other work. I think you should go back to work, John, because the family can't subsist on my job alone anymore.
See also: on, subsist
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

subsist on something

to exist on something; to stay alive on something. We can barely subsist on this amount of money. We need more! They are able to do no more than subsist on what Mrs. Harris is paid.
See also: on, subsist
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

subsist on

To survive by using something as a source of food: The people of the war-torn region subsisted on bread, water, and cheese for several months.
See also: on, subsist
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
On the other hand, theologian Karl Becker, S.J., who for many years served as a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (hereafter CDF) while Ratzinger was its prefect, offered good reasons for taking the term "subsists in" in Lumen gentium no.
Similarly, man too can only rise and subsist by taking the hand of God and being connected to Him.
Thirdly, the inspector did not believe that the evidence showed that the public footpaths "subsist or are reasonably alleged to subsist" along the order routes.
This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him."
Millions of elderly people in this country are forced to live on a state pension on which they can barely subsist.
Hunger is already a constant reality for most Guatemalans; almost percent of them subsist on less than $2 a day.
Conditions, one might say, appropriate for participants in cut-throat global free trade, where the survivors are those who can subsist on the smallest bowl of rice and where social provisions are notable only for their absence.
He reminds aspiring researchers also that neither geographers nor historians can subsist on theory and methodology alone; they must still fix their attention on hard nuggets of historical evidence.
Many of them don't have the basic necessities needed to survive in the stylistic rat-race--MTV and Details magazine--and subsist only on a primitive diet of network television and used copies of Time.
Finally, bringing this stage of the argument to what he takes to be triumphant closure, Holmes cites welfare liberalism's favorite passage from Locke (First Treatise of Government, 42): "We know God hath not left one Man so to the Mercy of another that he may starve him if he please....As Justice gives every Man a Title to the product of his honest Industry, and the fair Acquisitions of his Ancestors descended to him; so Charity gives every man a title to so much of another's Plenty, as will keep him from extream want, where he has no means to subsist otherwise." Concludes Holmes: "That this passage enunciates a universal entitlement to welfare cannot be denied" (italics in the original).
Adults subsist mostly on nectar and save the protein-rich pollen as food for immature bees.
While O'Brien demonstrates that many Natives did not practice English-style agriculture, she does not really tell how they did subsist. There are hints.
It notes that the Second Vatican Council also recognized that outside the Church's structure "many elements can be found of sanctification and truth." But it would be wrong to conclude from this that "the one Church of Christ could subsist also in non-Catholic Churches."
But even in the driest dirt, Freckman found surprising numbers of microscopic roundworms, called nematodes, that subsist on bacteria and yeast in the soils.