It was in Crash Course World History. It is at 3 minute and 7 second. Here is the context:

And another side effect of disease was starvation, because there simply were not enough people left to grow crops to feed the living.

I have checked each word separately in online dictionaries and still have no idea how someone can feed the living. Could the speaker mean earn a living?


1 Answer 1


According to Cambridge Dictionary


to give food to a person, group, or animal

living [noun]

the living: people who are still alive

Your sentence means that there were not enough producers of food (farmers, fishermen, ...) to supply the population (those who were still alive after the war) because many of the farmers had been killed.

  • 1
    In this case, "the living" is a synonym for "the population". The original could also say, "the nation" (or, if the famine was on a global scale, "the planet").
    – J.R.
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 11:00

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