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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Cheers followed that line, a mainstay in Pence's speeches for years. Claire Rafford, The Indianapolis Star, 19 June 2021 There’s the oversized black-and-white sign for the West Concord Supermarket, a grocery mainstay that gave way several years ago to a trendy restaurant., 17 June 2021 The musical, created by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez, first opened on March 24, 2011, went on to win nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, and has been a Broadway mainstay since then. Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, 16 June 2021 Since then, Mueller's been point man on the show, which mixes news and conversation, a lot of the latter about sports — a mainstay of WTMJ's flagship show. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 16 June 2021 Megan Boone, a mainstay on the show as the female lead opposite James Spader, is reportedly departing the NBC series after the upcoming finale episode, which is said to mark her last appearance as a series regular. Nick Romano,, 15 June 2021 According to the Federal Assembly of Tango Workers, the cultural mainstay had employed some 7,000 people throughout Argentina. Time, 15 June 2021 The Old Fisherman’s Grotto (or simply the Grotto), is a Monterey mainstay, having survived seven decades of changes on the peninsula. Shelby Knick, Forbes, 11 June 2021 Made from metal that is forged into a twigs and leaf display, this will be a consistent mainstay in your home. Chris Hachey, BGR, 9 June 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of mainstay

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About mainstay

Time Traveler for mainstay

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for mainstay

Last Updated

21 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mainstay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mainstay



English Language Learners Definition of mainstay

: a very important part of something : something or someone that provides support and makes it possible for something to exist or succeed


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


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!