main·​te·​nance | \ˈmānt-nən(t)s, 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

During the closure, SEPTA workers and third-party contractors will be cleaning the stations and completing maintenance work, including upgrades to the tracks, signals and power systems. Katherine Nails,, "SEPTA's Center City trolley tunnel to close for 9-day maintenance 'blitz'," 12 July 2018 The project will also install traffic signals, do maintenance work on both railroad crossings, and include a stormwater retention pond, according to a July 3 Wisconsin Department of Transportation update. Henry J. Morgan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Construction will close Mequon Road for 4-5 months at Country Aire Drive in Germantown," 11 July 2018 The victim had worked on projects for the property owner several times in the past, Hampton said, and this time decided to invite a couple of friends to help him with maintenance work. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Hammer assault during home construction project leaves man in critical condition," 9 July 2018 On July 12, 2016, the MTA announced a three week, partial shutdown of the Metro for critical rail maintenance work between Mondawmin and Milford Mill stations. Colin Campbell,, "Transit union warned of unsafe Baltimore Metro tracks for several years," 22 June 2018 The press release states that the maintenance work, in most cases, will only restrict drivers in any given area for less than 24 hours. Madeline Mitchell,, "Traffic: Is your neighborhood home to 1 of the 208 streets about to undergo construction?," 19 June 2018 Commuters traveling through Barrington can expect delays once a major highway in town closes June 4 for maintenance work, officials said recently. Todd Shields,, "Commuters beware: Portion of Route 14 to close soon in Barrington," 25 May 2018 The Hawthorne Bridge will be closed to motor vehicles 6 a.m. through as late as 6 p.m. Sunday May 20, for the second round of maintenance work. Rosemarie Stein,, "Portland Metro Friday Traffic: Hawthorne Bridge closed Sunday to motor vehicles," 18 May 2018 France will contribute to the maintenance and renovation of the site, Abiy said. Sylvie Corbet, The Seattle Times, "French president backs Ethiopia leader’s sweeping reforms," 29 Oct. 2018

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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Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for maintenance

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

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More Definitions for maintenance


main·​te·​nance | \ˈmān-tə-nəns \

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 \

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



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

a : alimony

b : support

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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Comments on maintenance

What made you want to look up maintenance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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