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 Boyd usually brings his violin to luthiers in New York City for basic maintenance. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "Faced with the cold, SMU music professor slept with his 330-year-old violin to protect it," 19 Feb. 2021 According to The Economist, gains were concentrated in professions where workers had heretofore faced competition from immigrant labor, such as housekeepers and maintenance workers. Christopher Caldwell, The New Republic, "Can There Ever Be a Working-Class Republican Party?," 8 Feb. 2021 Other occupations with a high risk of death include sewing machine operators, shipping and receiving clerks, maintenance workers, customer service workers, truck drivers, maids and house cleaners. Michael Cabanatuan,, "California’s essential workers dying in greater numbers from COVID-19, study finds," 23 Jan. 2021 Chilean public officials announced on Monday that 26 members of the Chilean army and 10 maintenance workers had contracted the virus while stationed at General Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme, a Chilean base on the southernmost continent. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "COVID-19 infects 36 at research base in Antarctica," 22 Dec. 2020 Citing Chilean media, the New York Times reported the virus was found in 26 members of the Chilean military and 10 maintenance workers, all of whom have been evacuated from the base and isolated. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "With reports of first cases in Antarctica, COVID-19 has now infected every continent," 22 Dec. 2020 But more help will be needed to prevent another big round of layoffs of teachers, maintenance workers, and other public-sector employees as states try to balance their budgets. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "The New COVID-19 Relief Package Is Flawed but Essential," 21 Dec. 2020 Phase 2 of distribution includes teachers, grocery store employees, maintenance workers, postal workers, mortuary personnel, government and military workers and some other essential workers. Emily Woodruff,, "A promising coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon. Who will get it first in Louisiana?," 11 Nov. 2020 Mold developed in a classroom after a water leak last month at New River Middle in Fort Lauderdale, but maintenance workers came the next day to repair the damage, Principal Melinda Wessinger said. Scott Travis,, "Mold grew in empty schools during the pandemic," 10 Oct. 2020

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

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Maintenance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for maintenance



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
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

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