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

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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

The 6-5 point guard was a mainstay during the final portion of last season when the Lakers were riddled with injuries, averaging 9.2 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 25 games. Tania Ganguli,, "Lakers add DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo to already potent lineup," 6 July 2019 Gerardo Parra became an instant mainstay with the Nationals. Bruce Jenkins,, "The Giants are fun again, and that’s half the battle," 5 July 2019 Undergraduate tuition at Ivy League mainstay Columbia University is a hair under $60,000 a year, up by half from $39,000 in the 2008 school year. NBC News, "We're in the longest economic expansion ever — but it's the rich who are getting richer," 2 July 2019 Gary Duncan, a guitarist and singer for Quicksilver Messenger Service, an electrifying mainstay of the San Francisco psychedelic scene that rivaled Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead in the late 1960s, died June 29 at 72. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Gary Duncan, psychedelic guitarist in Quicksilver Messenger Service, dies at 72," 1 July 2019 Communities such as Morro Bay, population 10,600, were hard-hit by the curbs not only on salmon but also on other mainstay species, including crab and rockfish. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "California Is Overflowing With Salmon, Boosting Coastal Towns," 28 June 2019 This menu mainstay combines Maine lobster and shrimp salad over greens with hearts of palm, tomatoes, mango salsa, scallions, cucumbers, roasted red peppers and mango dressing. Claire Perez,, "JB’s seafood salad with mango dressing a refreshing summer meal," 28 June 2019 Crypto bulls were heartened this year after numerous Wall Street mainstays showed increased interest and wider acceptance of cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology, helping to push prices higher. Jenna Schnuer, Fortune, "Bitcoin's Price Takes a Wild Roundtrip Ride," 27 June 2019 That PGA Tour mainstay from 1958-2009 was last played about an hour to the northwest of Detroit in Grand Blanc Township. Bill Speros, USA TODAY, "Rocket Mortgage Classic live blog: Updates from PGA Tour event in Detroit," 27 June 2019

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

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mainstay

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on mainstay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mainstay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mainstay

Spanish Central: Translation of mainstay

Nglish: Translation of mainstay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mainstay for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mainstay

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