sustain

verb
sus·​tain | \sə-ˈstān \
sustained; sustaining; sustains

Definition of sustain 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to give support or relief to

2 : to supply with sustenance : nourish

4 : to support the weight of : prop also : to carry or withstand (a weight or pressure)

5 : to buoy up sustained by hope

6a : to bear up under

b : suffer, undergo sustained heavy losses

7a : to support as true, legal, or just

b : to allow or admit as valid the court sustained the motion

8 : to support by adequate proof : confirm testimony that sustains our contention

sustain

noun

Definition of sustain (Entry 2 of 2)

: a musical effect that prolongs a note's resonance utilizing heavy sustain on his guitar— Bill Dahl

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Other Words from sustain

Verb

sustainedly \ sə-​ˈstā-​nəd-​lē , -​ˈstānd-​lē \ adverb
sustainer noun

Synonyms for sustain

Synonyms: Verb

abide, absorb, accept, bear, bide [chiefly dialect], brook, countenance, endure, go, hack, handle, meet, pocket, stand, stick out, stomach, support, sweat out, take, tolerate, wear [British]

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Examples of sustain in a Sentence

Verb

Hope sustained us during that difficult time. The roof, unable to sustain the weight of all the snow, collapsed. The army sustained heavy losses. He sustained serious injuries in the accident.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Both of the people in the car were killed in the crash, while the train operator and 20 passengers sustained no serious injuries. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "2 dead after California train, car crash that was caught on camera," 10 July 2018 Portalatin is fairly confident that the fast-casual segment can sustain its growth into the future. Lori Weisberg, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Fast casual chains — think Panera, Chipotle — show no signs of fading," 4 July 2018 Now that Tesla has (roughly) reached its second quarter production goal, the question now is whether or not the company can sustain and grow this pace to meet demand for the car. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Tesla reportedly hit its Model 3 manufacturing goal hours after its deadline," 1 July 2018 The detective's vehicle may have also sustained damage, Dull said. Max Londberg, kansascity, "Truck driver killed on Northland highway when semi pushes KC police vehicle into him," 29 June 2018 After Goodwin sustained an ankle injury against Howard, Ferguson also filled in at pitcher late in the year. Brent Kennedy, Howard County Times, "Howard County JV spring athletes earn their stripes," 5 June 2018 All conclude that midlife (and older) adults can sustain an exercise routine and gain a range of health benefits. Amby Burfoot, courant.com, "Middle Age Not Too Late To Increase Cardiac Fitness, Studies Show," 1 June 2018 Filming on the movie was shut down in late January after Lively sustained a critical hand injury in December while shooting a stunt. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, "Sterling K. Brown Joins Blake Lively in 'Rhythm Section' as Spy Movie Resumes Production (Exclusive)," 31 May 2018 Finally cleared to rehab, Smith sustained a right elbow fracture that required surgery and forced him to miss the entire 2016 season. Maria Torres, kansascity, "The Royals’ rotation is falling apart. They may have found hope in another Rule 5 get," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The movie is filled with stunning landscapes, and the sleek lions are part of an arid but beautiful terrain that both sustains and threatens. Erin Blakemore, Washington Post, "Rare desert lions are magnificent, and you can see them in their home territory," 8 July 2018 Smythe stood, bent over the open piano, manipulating the strings while the sustain pedal was depressed by ensemble member Eric Segnitz. Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Present Music takes a chance on unpredictable sounds," 23 Feb. 2018 His efficiency is helping the TCU offense sustain drives and give the defense rest. Matt Jennings, ajc, "TCU QB Kenny Hill finally learning ‘how to win,’ Gary Patterson says," 24 Sep. 2017 Our hybrid elective-hereditary peoplehood sustains and upholds our ideals. Nicholas M. Gallagher, National Review, "America Needs to Reconcile Its Id and Superego," 11 July 2017 In all, the team started three different quarterbacks throughout the year, had a fourth sustain a season-ending injury during fall camp and a fifth waiting in the wings in case of an emergency. Tom Green, AL.com, "The most important lesson Auburn's Chip Lindsey learned at Arizona State," 29 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sustain.' 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 sustain

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1972, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sustain

Verb

Middle English sustenen, from Anglo-French sustein-, stem of sustenir, from Latin sustinēre to hold up, sustain, from sub-, sus- up + tenēre to hold — more at sub-, thin

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Statistics for sustain

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sustain

The first known use of sustain was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for sustain

sustain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sustain

: to provide what is needed for (something or someone) to exist, continue, etc.

: to hold up the weight of (something)

: to deal with or experience (something bad or unpleasant)

sustain

verb
sus·​tain | \sə-ˈstān \
sustained; sustaining

Kids Definition of sustain

1 : to provide with what is needed Food sustains life.

2 : to keep up the spirits of Hope sustained us.

3 : to keep up : prolong This author's books sustain my interest.

4 : to hold up the weight of The roof couldn't sustain the weight of the snow.

5 : experience entry 2 The army sustained heavy losses.

6 : to allow or uphold as true, legal, or fair The judge sustained the motion to dismiss the case.

sustain

transitive verb
sus·​tain | \sə-ˈstān \

Legal Definition of sustain 

1 : to support as true, legal, or just

2 : to allow or uphold as valid sustain an objection — compare overrule sense 1

Other Words from sustain

sustainable adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on sustain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sustain

Spanish Central: Translation of sustain

Nglish: Translation of sustain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sustain for Arabic Speakers

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