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

While Europe is adding natural gas supplies from the U.S. and Qatar on top of its traditional mainstay, Russia, Trump’s demand that U.S. allies stop buying Iranian crude requires Saudi Arabia to step up production to keep prices in check. Kathleen Hunter,, "Travel Ban Win Could Embolden Trump on Border," 27 June 2018 The Town House Restaurant: Since the 1950s, this Oviedo mainstay has been serving diner fare to a diverse clientele. A.d. Thompson,, "Oviedo Neighborhood Guide," 21 June 2018 Country Club Plaza mainstay is relocating to 12631 Metcalf Ave. Joyce Smith, kansascity, "KC-area restaurant and brewery updates for June: What's coming, open and closed," 13 June 2018 The mainstay in Desikan’s world is his wife, Maya Vijayaraghavan, a petite woman with a no-nonsense manner. Laurie Mcginley, Washington Post, "Devastated by ALS, trying to save others," 13 June 2018 The Frenchwoman how-to is a mainstay of the industry, the publishing equivalent of a bottomless brunch. New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: ‘Live Like a French Woman’ Books," 12 June 2018 In apparent deference to Mr Erdogan, Turkey’s central bank has long refrained from raising the one-week repo rate, which had served as its monetary mainstay. The Economist, "Turkey’s central bank has streamlined its fight against inflation," 31 May 2018 As for Jarrett, the 62-year-old Chicago lawyer, who had been an aide to Mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley before becoming a mainstay among Obama’s advisers, was silent during much of Tuesday. Steve Johnson,, "In working with Roseanne, ABC played with fire, got burned," 29 May 2018 The mainstays are still there — Virginia, Hopkins, Cornell and Duke. Mike Preston,, "Preston: Maryland men's lacrosse team couldn't overcome talent drain in final four loss to Duke," 26 May 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

19 Sep 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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