sustain

verb
sus·​tain | \ sə-ˈstān How to pronounce sustain (audio) \
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 How to pronounce sustainedly (audio) , -​ˈstānd-​lē \ adverb
sustainer noun

Synonyms for sustain

Synonyms: Verb

nourish, nurture

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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

For baby gifts, check out FORAI (Friends of Refugees and Immigrants), a nonprofit that sells the cutest onesies, all of which help the artisans sustain sewing micro-businesses. Jane Mosbacher Morris, Marie Claire, "5 Easy Ways to Use Your Wallet to Create Real Change," 31 Jan. 2019 State inspectors said one patient sustained a skull fracture because the hospital failed to implement safety measures. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Psychiatric Hospitals With Safety Violations Still Get Accreditation," 26 Dec. 2018 Police said the vehicle likely sustained damage on the front and passenger’s side. Aimee Ortiz, BostonGlobe.com, "Authorities searching for wrong-way driver involved in Melrose hit-and-run," 9 July 2018 No people were injured and the vehicle sustained minor damage to the rear wheel wells, the release said. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A 15-year-old girl tried to set a squad car on fire, Milwaukee police say," 8 July 2018 Library Executive Director Heidi Smith said the columns have sustained water damage and one of them was struck by a city public works vehicle. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "City to help Park Ridge Library cover cost of new building columns," 3 July 2018 Police said the 24-year-old male sustained a gunshot wound to his lower torso. Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune, "Violent weekend in Gary leaves 1 dead, 16 wounded," 25 June 2018 Green said the attacker sustained several knife wounds during the struggle that were considered life-threatening. Andy Nguyen, latimes.com, "Suspect dies following stabbing at Burbank Burger King," 20 June 2018 Four other buildings were heavily damaged and one sustained moderate damage. CBS News, "20 firefighters injured in massive NYC blaze, officials say," 16 June 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

12 Mar 2019

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.
formal : to hold up the weight of (something)
formal : to deal with or experience (something bad or unpleasant)

sustain

verb
sus·​tain | \ sə-ˈstān How to pronounce sustain (audio) \
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 How to pronounce sustain (audio) \

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

Comments on sustain

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