transitive verb \sə-ˈstān\

: 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

:  to give support or relief to
:  to supply with sustenance :  nourish
:  to support the weight of :  prop; also :  to carry or withstand (a weight or pressure)
:  to buoy up <sustained by hope>
a :  to bear up under
b :  suffer, undergo <sustained heavy losses>
a :  to support as true, legal, or just
b :  to allow or admit as valid <the court sustained the motion>
:  to support by adequate proof :  confirm <testimony that sustains our contention>
sus·tained·ly \-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



Definition of SUSTAIN

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

First Known Use of SUSTAIN



Next Word in the Dictionary: sustainable
Previous Word in the Dictionary: sussultorial
All Words Near: sustain

Seen & Heard

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

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More