Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

sustain

play
transitive verb sus·tain \sə-ˈstān\

Simple Definition of sustain

  • : to provide what is needed for (something or someone) to exist, continue, etc.

  • : to hold up the weight of (something)

  • : to deal with or experience (something bad or unpleasant)

Full Definition of sustain

  1. 1 :  to give support or relief to

  2. 2 :  to supply with sustenance :  nourish

  3. 3 :  keep up, prolong

  4. 4 :  to support the weight of :  prop; also :  to carry or withstand (a weight or pressure)

  5. 5 :  to buoy up <sustained by hope>

  6. 6a :  to bear up underb :  suffer, undergo <sustained heavy losses>

  7. 7a :  to support as true, legal, or justb :  to allow or admit as valid <the court sustained the motion>

  8. 8 :  to support by adequate proof :  confirm <testimony that sustains our contention>

sus·tained·ly play \-ˈstā-nəd-lē, -ˈstānd-lē\ adverb
sus·tain·er noun

Examples of sustain

  1. Hope sustained us during that difficult time.

  2. The roof, unable to sustain the weight of all the snow, collapsed.

  3. The army sustained heavy losses.

  4. He sustained serious injuries in the accident.



Origin of sustain

Middle English sustenen, from Anglo-French sustein-, stem of sustenir, from Latin sustinēre to hold up, sustain, from sub-, sus- up + tenēre to hold — more at sub-, thin


First Known Use: 13th century


2

sustain

noun sus·tain

Definition of sustain

  1. :  a musical effect that prolongs a note's resonance <utilizing heavy sustain on his guitar — Bill Dahl>



1972

First Known Use of sustain

1972


SUSTAIN Defined for Kids

sustain

play
verb sus·tain \sə-ˈstān\

Definition of sustain

sus·tainedsus·tain·ing

  1. 1 :  to provide with what is needed <Food sustains life.>

  2. 2 :  to keep up the spirits of <Hope sustained us.>

  3. 3 :  to keep up :  prolong <This author's books sustain my interest.>

  4. 4 :  to hold up the weight of <The roof couldn't sustain the weight of the snow.>

  5. 5 :  2experience <The army sustained heavy losses.>

  6. 6 :  to allow or uphold as true, legal, or fair <The judge sustained the motion to dismiss the case.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up sustain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

kittly-benders duvet spindrift pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ