Sustainable – Able to hold on

Sustainability – To be able to continue.

The first references we have in this sense is from 1965, when the idea of ‘environmental sustainability’ began to be understood. Before that, it was used ‘sustainability’ to only mean ‘bearable’ and in this sense, it originated in 1845, combining the word ‘sustain’ and the common English suffix ‘-able’. ‘Sustain’ meaning ‘to keep going’ comes from the Latin ‘sutenere’ meaning the same thing, it was derived from the earlier Latin word ‘tenere’ meaning ‘to hold on’. ‘-able’ comes from the Latin suffix ‘bilis’ which meant ‘to be capable of’.


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