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

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Other Words from maintain

maintainability \ mān-​ˌtā-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce maintainability (audio) \ noun
maintainable \ mān-​ˈtā-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce maintainable (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web In a recent statement to the Associated Press, Fennell's attorney, Bob Phillips, said his client denies killing Stites and maintains that Reed is guilty. Fox News, "Dr Michael Baden: Death row inmate Rodney Reed is innocent," 14 Nov. 2019 The organization has held the building for more than 20 years, maintaining it as a hub in Asylum Hill for a number of nonprofits providing job training, youth development, housing assistance and other services to neighborhood residents. Rebecca Lurye,, "Express Kitchens seeks to buy tax-delinquent office building in Asylum Hill for expansion," 13 Nov. 2019 Meat and vegetarian options hold the primary seats at Al Hamra’s buffet table but the red snapper was a happy find, swimming in a heavily oiled sauce and maintaining a nice flakiness, fresh herbs clutching the filet’s sides. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "This Halal buffet in the heart of the Highlands is serving up a taste of the Mediterranean," 13 Nov. 2019 Hawks head coach Jason James and assistant Lloyd Ruskin had the 11-13 age division club start off the season on a strong note and maintained that competitive edge throughout the season. Emmett Hall,, "Hawks soar to Tamarac junior division hoops title," 13 Nov. 2019 Only after a successful review by staff at the National Library of Medicine — which helps maintain along with the National Institutes of Health — do data get posted to the website. Shraddha Chakradhar, STAT, "More trial results are being posted to public database, but data quality is lacking, report finds," 13 Nov. 2019 Grayback’s loss, to an aircraft while on the surface of the water, is one good reason the U.S. Navy today maintains an all-nuclear powered submarine fleet. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Lost World War II Submarine Rediscovered 75 Years Later," 12 Nov. 2019 On Tuesday, state and local leaders visited the West Price Hill cemetery to announce several new initiatives to preserve and maintain one of Cincinnati's most historic landmarks. Randy Tucker,, "Someone vandalized a historic cemetery for African Americans in Cincinnati. Now local and federal officials are moving to help.," 12 Nov. 2019 While Reed has maintained his innocence, at least 11 people have recently cast doubt on his conviction and put a spotlight on Fennell, NBC affiliate KXAN reported Tuesday. NBC News, "Rodney Reed 'deserves a chance to clear his name,' victim Stacey Stites' cousin says," 12 Nov. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for maintain

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for maintain

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

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More Definitions for maintain


How to pronounce maintain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of maintain

: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing
: to keep (something) in good condition by making repairs, correcting problems, etc.
: to continue having or doing (something)


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.

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