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

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 But the maintenance of sweetness requires a lot of time spent being charming and passive, diluting myself to palatability. Joe Wadlington, Vox, "Halloween costumes are about dressing as someone else. I decided to go as my own fears instead.," 19 Oct. 2018 Devon said while laughing, seemingly likening the maintenance of her hair dye to the struggles models of color face due to their skin color. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Model Devon Windsor Apologizes for "Incredibly Insensitive" Comments about Diversity," 12 Sep. 2018 The best outcome from this meeting that will undermine liberal democracies and encourage strongmen the world over would be maintenance of the status quo and a public relations coup for Putin. Nina Jankowicz, The New Republic, "Available in Helsinki: the Fate of Eastern Europe," 13 July 2018 But peace poses problems for Mr Issaias, who has used the threat posed by Ethiopia to justify his authoritarianism and the maintenance of a huge army. The Economist, "Ethiopia and Eritrea put an end to two decades of conflict," 10 July 2018 According to the survey, residents were more satisfied with the maintenance of the city's streets, sidewalks and infrastructure when compared to 2012, and also gave better marks to traffic flow in the city compared to six years ago. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Survey says Yorkville residents would like more restaurants, stores," 3 July 2018 The council voted unanimously to back a public-private development model, which involves hiring an outside development team to oversee construction, financing, operations and maintenance of the project. Dakota Smith,, "L.A. City Council backs spending plan for $700-million office tower," 3 July 2018 Smith, 55, of West Portsmouth, supervises the maintenance of two high-rise apartment complexes in Portsmouth. Scott Wartman,, "In Ohio, Democratic U.S. Senator Sen. Sherrod Brown may ride Trump country to re-election," 2 July 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

18 Nov 2018

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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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a private place of worship

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