main·​stay | \ ˈmān-ˌstā How to pronounce mainstay (audio) \

Definition of mainstay

1 : a ship's stay extending from the maintop forward usually to the foot of the foremast
2 : a chief support

Examples of mainstay in a Sentence

Fish is a mainstay of their diet. My mother has always been the mainstay of our family.
Recent Examples on the Web The Navy air base, which opened in 1943, was a mainstay of round-the-clock, antisubmarine surveillance in World War II and the Cold War, eventually closing in 2011. Globe Staff,, 22 May 2022 This casual restaurant and bar offers burgers and Mexican fare by chef Libby Favela, a mainstay of the Anderson Valley community, as well as a shortlist of local wines and beers. Lettie Teague, WSJ, 12 May 2022 There’s a wonderful cameo by a Raimi mainstay, stunning visuals, and complex worldbuilding with deep in-world lore. Jeff Ewing, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Streetwear brand Supreme, however, regularly embarks on such partnerships—and its latest finds the NYC mainstay exploring a European sensibility. Shelby Ying Hyde, Harper's BAZAAR, 19 Nov. 2021 The family-run business became a mainstay beginning in the days when travelers were far between on SOM Center Road. cleveland, 13 May 2022 In the over two decades since, her voice, face and reportage became a mainstay for Palestinian audiences. Steve Hendrix, Sufian Taha, Shira Rubin, Anchorage Daily News, 11 May 2022 Over a three decade career, Olson became a mainstay of American TV series, with appearances in Have Gun Will Travel, Kung Fu, Lancer, The Virginian, McCloud, Gunsmoke, Ironside, Mannix, Maude and The Bionic Woman, among other shows. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2022 Just as Cindy Crawford's daughter Kaia Gerber became a mainstay of the runway, so too is Brooke Shields's daughter Grier Henchy following in her mother's modeling footsteps. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 12 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mainstay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of mainstay

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for mainstay

Time Traveler

The first known use of mainstay was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near mainstay

main squeeze


main stem

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Statistics for mainstay

Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mainstay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for mainstay


main·​stay | \ ˈmān-ˌstā How to pronounce mainstay (audio) \

Kids Definition of mainstay

1 : the large strong rope from the maintop of a ship usually to the foot of the foremast
2 : a chief support the mainstay of the family

More from Merriam-Webster on mainstay

Nglish: Translation of mainstay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mainstay for Arabic Speakers


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