main·stay | \ˈmān-ˌstā \

Definition of mainstay 

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

2 : a chief support

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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

Roster mainstays like goalkeeper Joe Bendik and winger Justin Meram didn’t play. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City earns 2-1 win over Toronto FC, snaps nine-match MLS losing skid," 14 July 2018 Creating a research division to build groundbreaking products is a mainstay of companies whose worth is tied to their ability to innovate. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google," 11 July 2018 The manufacturers surveyed include automakers and electronics companies that are the mainstay of Japan’s economy. Yuri Kageyama, The Seattle Times, "Bank of Japan survey shows corporate sentiment worsening," 2 July 2018 The downtown parade, which has been a mainstay of Havre de Grace’s annual Independence Day celebration for decades, lasted about two hours and drew participants from around Harford County, the state and the region. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Havre de Grace Independence Parade steps out on Union Ave.," 2 July 2018 The influx of people has attracted new kinds of businesses to a Main Street that still harbors mainstays like a hardware store and a vacuum repair shop. Jason Laughlin,, "Lansdale exists because of the railroad. Now those tracks may be key to its future," 19 June 2018 Silicon Valley mainstays like Sequoia Capital, Benchmark and Accel have long commanded reputations for producing top-tier investment returns over the course of decades. Katie Roof, WSJ, "Rising Venture-Capital Firms’ Strategies for Success," 12 June 2018 Photo: Juan Carlos for The Wall Street Journal Farmers, merchants, bankers and business moguls have been unlikely mainstays of Mr. Ortega’s support in recent years, but now his standing with them is decaying. John Otis, WSJ, "Nicaraguan Leader’s Former Pro-Business Allies Want Him Out," 10 July 2018 Chancellor, the strong safety, cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas were the mainstays, though corners Brandon Browner, Jeremy Lane, Byron Maxwell and Marcus Trufant were also key components at various times. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "As Seahawks' Legion of Boom disbands, is it time to anoint it NFL's greatest secondary?," 3 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of mainstay

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for mainstay

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for mainstay

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

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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 \

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

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Comments on mainstay

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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