main·​te·​nance | \ ˈmānt-nən(t)s How to pronounce maintenance (audio) , ˈmān-tə-nən(t)s \

Definition of maintenance

1 : the act of maintaining : the state of being maintained : support The building has suffered from years of poor maintenance.
2 : something that maintains at least half of them are living parasitically on the other half instead of producing maintenance for themselves— G. B. Shaw
3 : the upkeep of property or equipment the maintenance of the school
4 : an officious or unlawful intermeddling in a legal suit by assisting either party with means to carry it on

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Examples of maintenance in a Sentence

Soon he could take an Underwood apart and put it together blindfolded, a trick that won him the account for maintenance of all the typewriters at Columbia-Presbyterian hospital … — Ian Frazier, Atlantic, November 1997 The building has suffered from years of poor maintenance. the costs of routine car maintenance maintenance of law and order money for the family's maintenance
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Recent Examples on the Web In Vancouver, the eastbound on-ramp from SR 14 from Evergreen near milepost 3, will be closed 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, as maintenance crews remove brush and trees to improve sight distance and safety. oregonlive, "Portland metro Tuesday traffic: Freezing fog, icy spots for morning commute," 4 Feb. 2020 Dunn said the decision was made because maintenance crews were struggling daily to maintain sewer and electrical systems housed in a tunnel running beneath the main prison building. USA TODAY, "Animatronic groundhog, coalfield crayfish, Old Bay sauce: News from around our 50 states," 30 Jan. 2020 The decision was made because maintenance crews were struggling daily to maintain sewer and electrical systems housed in a tunnel running beneath the main prison building at the 51-year-old prison, Dunn said. Washington Post, "Alabama to shutter aging, dilapidated prison," 29 Jan. 2020 Being short 20 airplanes a day means the airline had to cancel about 80 flights for maintenance. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "The Best and Worst U.S. Airlines of 2019," 15 Jan. 2020 The State House maintenance crew would bring a construction lift to raise the rabbi and elected officials to the top of the menorah and light the candles., "House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he was saddened to learn of the rabbi’s death, saying Liberman had worked with his office for many years to organize the menorah lighting.," 17 Dec. 2019 So if a pup poops on a lawn and the owner leaves it there, maintenance crews will take a sample, which will be sent to the lab in Knoxville. James Burky, The Denver Post, "From the lawn to the lab: Apartment complexes use DNA testing to keep bad dog owners in check," 7 Dec. 2019 According to the Butte County Post, the incident began when maintenance crews attempted to repair the security system protecting Lima-02, a Minuteman I intercontinental ballistic missile. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "55 Years Ago Today, an Explosion Toppled an ICBM’s Warhead," 5 Dec. 2019 Many of Oman’s aflaj have survived thanks to local associations, which have collected payments from users and organized maintenance crews to keep the water running. Ian James, azcentral, "Ancient aqueducts in Oman imperiled by modern wells and climate change," 28 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'maintenance.' 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 maintenance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for maintenance

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from maintenir — see maintain

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Time Traveler for maintenance

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for maintenance

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Maintenance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for maintenance


How to pronounce maintenance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of maintenance

: the act of keeping property or equipment in good condition by making repairs, correcting problems, etc.
: the act of causing something to exist or continue without changing
: the act of providing support for someone or something


main·​te·​nance | \ ˈmān-tə-nəns How to pronounce maintenance (audio) \

Kids Definition of maintenance

1 : the act of keeping or providing for : the state of being kept or provided for One of government's jobs is the maintenance of law and order. We collected money for the family's maintenance.
2 : upkeep Workers in charge of maintenance painted the building.


main·​te·​nance | \ ˈmānt-nən(t)s, -ᵊn-ən(t)s How to pronounce maintenance (audio) \

Medical Definition of maintenance

: designed or adequate to maintain a patient in a stable condition : serving to maintain a gradual process of healing or to prevent a relapse a maintenance dose maintenance chemotherapy

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Legal Definition of maintenance

1a : the act of providing basic and necessary support
b : the state of having such support
2 : a financial means of providing necessary assistance: as
3 : the necessities of life provided for by payment of maintenance
4 : the upkeep of property or equipment
5 : unsought and unnecessary meddling in a lawsuit by assisting either party with means to carry it on — compare champerty

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