maintain

verb

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

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
4
a
: 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
maintainability noun
maintainable adjective
maintainer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for maintain

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Kansas City recorded its deadliest year in 2023, with 185 homicides according to data maintained by The Star, which includes fatal police shootings. Kendrick Calfee, Kansas City Star, 13 Apr. 2024 Battling to maintain his early lead during a windswept second round at the 88th edition of the major, trouble looked to be brewing for the big-hitting American when his tee drive at the par-five 13th hole skewed right into the woods beside the fairway. Jack Bantock, CNN, 13 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for maintain 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'maintain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near maintain

Cite this Entry

“Maintain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maintain. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

maintain

verb
main·​tain mān-ˈtān How to pronounce maintain (audio)
mən-
1
: to keep in an existing state
especially : to keep in good condition
maintain one's health
maintain machinery
2
: to defend by argument
maintain a position
3
: to continue in : carry on, keep up
maintain your balance
maintain a correspondence
4
: to provide for : support
maintain my family by working
5
: to insist to be true
maintained that all men are equal
maintainable adjective
maintainer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on maintain

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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