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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Hamilton County voters in May approved doubling the property tax to pay for maintenance and upkeep to the libraries. Scott Wartman,, "Ceiling damage closes library's Price Hill branch," 11 July 2018 Among the items for sale at the museum are replicas of the Union District School, maps of old South Windsor, and schoolhouse notepaper, with proceeds used for maintenance of the building. Courant Community, "Community News For The South Windsor Edition," 10 July 2018 For instance, ride-hailing can help smooth transportation demand shocks caused by temporary transit disruptions, such as closures of subway stations for maintenance. Daniel Sperling, Scientific American, "Can Ride-Hailing Improve Public Transportation Instead of Undercutting It?," 5 July 2018 Because peak fertilizer production takes place between August and March, many ammonia plants slow their operations or shut down for maintenance from April to June. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Carbon Dioxide Shortage Is Threatening the U.K.’s Supply of Beer and Crumpets," 3 July 2018 An unusually high number of the plants that produce the gas, which is emitted in large quantities as a byproduct of fertiliser production, have closed for maintenance this summer. Billy Perrigo, Time, "Brits Are Running Low on Crumpets and Beer as CO2 in Short Supply," 2 July 2018 The tolls also generate money for road maintenance and other transportation projects. Washington Post, "Virginia explores extending the 495 Express Lanes to the American Legion Bridge," 30 June 2018 Earlier this year, Trump's Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, FL, was cited by inspectors for poor maintenance, according to the Miami Herald., "Trump Calls Red Hen Filthy — Forgetting His Own Restaurant Had Health Violations," 25 June 2018 The crash occurred under the Cloverdale Road overpass about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16, as eastbound traffic was being herded from four lanes to one for overnight highway maintenance. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "How a 20-minute fire in the fatal I-84 crash ruined a concrete overpass," 22 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about maintenance

Share maintenance

Statistics for maintenance

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for maintenance

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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