main·​tain | \ mān-ˈtān How to pronounce maintain (audio) , mən- \
maintained; maintaining; maintains

Definition of maintain

transitive verb

1 : to keep in an existing state (as of repair, efficiency, or validity) : preserve from failure or decline maintain machinery
2 : to sustain against opposition or danger : uphold and defend maintain a position
3 : to continue or persevere in : carry on, keep up couldn't maintain his composure
4a : to support or provide for has a family to maintain
b : sustain enough food to maintain life
5 : to affirm in or as if in argument : assert maintained that the earth is flat

Other Words from maintain

maintainability \ mān-​ˌtā-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce maintain (audio) \ noun
maintainable \ mān-​ˈtā-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce maintain (audio) \ adjective
maintainer noun

Synonyms for maintain


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maintain, assert, defend, vindicate, justify mean to uphold as true, right, just, or reasonable. maintain stresses firmness of conviction. steadfastly maintained his innocence assert suggests determination to make others accept one's claim. asserted her rights defend implies maintaining in the face of attack or criticism. defended his voting record vindicate implies successfully defending. his success vindicated our faith in him justify implies showing to be true, just, or valid by appeal to a standard or to precedent. the action was used to justify military intervention

Examples of maintain in a Sentence

They have always maintained high standards of professional conduct. He has found it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. The company has done a poor job of maintaining its computer network. It was obvious that the house had been poorly maintained. She was finding it hard to maintain her balance. She still maintains a close relationship with her college roommate. It's difficult to maintain a correspondence when we're both so busy. The pilot was struggling to maintain control of the aircraft. The police say that they will do whatever is necessary to maintain law and order. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The listing comes as Ms. Blouin is fighting in bankruptcy court to maintain control of the compound. Katherine Clarke, WSJ, 8 Aug. 2022 Allen has to eat 5,500-6,000 calories a day just to maintain his weight. Michael Lev, The Arizona Republic, 7 Aug. 2022 At least one of Iran's arguments -- that the US can't be trusted to maintain its commitments from one administration to another -- is likely to be well received, especially if the US pulls out (again), this time from the negotiating table. Aaron David Miller, CNN, 4 Aug. 2022 Compliance and privacy are at the forefront of customer engagement to maintain consumer trust and avoid fines. Manish Sood, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 The former couple have worked hard over the years to maintain a friendly co-parenting relationship and blended family with Smith and Pinkett's children, Jaden Smith and Willow Smith. Tamara Palmer, Peoplemag, 3 Aug. 2022 The Maverick Tremor also is equipped with Trail Control, where the truck manages the throttle and brakes to maintain a speed set by the driver while the driver navigates tricky off-road situations. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 1 Aug. 2022 Bloomberg recently reported that according to their economists, the inflated costs for everyday items has pushed US households to shell out thousands more just to maintain their normal way of life. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 1 Aug. 2022 Weight capacity isn't listed because the mattress's construction exceeds human weight, according to a company rep, but it's recommended for people 350 pounds or less to maintain the integrity of the foam insulation. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 31 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of maintain

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for maintain

Middle English mainteinen, from Anglo-French maintenir, maynteiner, from Medieval Latin manutenēre, from Latin manu tenēre to hold in the hand

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Time Traveler for maintain

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The first known use of maintain was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near maintain



maintained school

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Maintain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for maintain


main·​tain | \ mān-ˈtān How to pronounce maintain (audio) \
maintained; maintaining

Kids Definition of maintain

1 : to carry on : continue After many years they still maintain a correspondence.
2 : to keep in a particular or desired state Eat properly to maintain good health.
3 : to insist to be true She maintains her innocence.
4 : to provide for : support I maintained my family by working two jobs.

More from Merriam-Webster on maintain

Nglish: Translation of maintain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of maintain for Arabic Speakers


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