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

That’s the same reason maintenance costs for EVs are so low—a problem for dealerships that rely on servicing cars for profits. Wired, "The Shift to Electric Vehicles Propels a Strike Against GM," 17 Sep. 2019 Today, the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec operates the venue under an emphyteutic lease, effectively owning the building for 99 years without having to pay rent but responsible for upkeep and maintenance costs. Fortune, "This Is Quebec City’s Only Library with English Books—Housed in a Former Jail," 7 Sep. 2019 The aircraft was grounded for good in 2003 due to rising maintenance costs, marking the end of supersonic airline service. Howard Slutsken, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Competition to Bring Back Supersonic Flight Is Heating Up," 28 Aug. 2019 Fortunately, many all-electric buildings can save money by avoiding the cost of installing gas pipes and infrastructure — approximately $3,361 per apartment — with lower maintenance costs of electric utilities over the life of the building. Sam Liccardo, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Making San Jose a model city for sustainability," 25 Aug. 2019 Experienced nonprofits like the Tenderloin group also have learned to spend extra up-front on materials so that long-term maintenance costs are reduced. John King,, "Much-needed Tenderloin housing makes architectural splash — after an 11-year wait," 13 Aug. 2019 However, executives attributed the the company's second quarter loss to costs associated with bringing new production units online at its export terminals in Louisiana and Corpus Christi as well as other operations and maintenance costs. Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, "Bringing new trains online sting LNG exporter Cheniere during second quarter," 8 Aug. 2019 That may explain why the unit fetches maintenance costs/common charges of $19,279 and monthly taxes $22,670. Johnny Diaz,, "Dolphins owner Steve Ross looking to sell his New York City penthouse for $75 million," 2 Aug. 2019 Many venues remain empty, boarded up, and have no tenants or income with the maintenance costs dumped on the federal government. Washington Post, "Pan American Games spotlight inequality in Peru’s capital," 26 July 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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Statistics for maintenance

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

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



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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