Like other microorganisms, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae responds to starvation by arresting growth and entering stationary phase. Because most microorganisms exist under conditions of nutrient limitation, the ability to tolerate starvation is critical for survival. Molecular analyses have identified changes in transcription, translation, and protein modification in stationary-phase cells. At the level of translation, the pattern of newly synthesized proteins in stationary-phase cells is surprisingly similar to the pattern of proteins synthesized during exponential growth. When limited for different nutrients, yeast strains may not enter stationary phase but opt for pathways such as pseudohyphal growth. If nutrient limitation continues, the end-point is likely to be a stationary-phase cell. Based on the results of recent studies, we propose a model for entry into stationary phase in which G0 arrest is separable from acquisition of the ability to survive long periods of time without added nutrients.