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

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

This thing that had sustained me now felt like a prison. Lyz Lenz, Glamour, "I'm a Great Cook. Now That I'm Divorced, I'm Never Making Dinner for a Man Again," 26 Nov. 2018 Our job now is to sustain it, leverage it, and build on it. Jill Filipovic, Marie Claire, "Women Won Big Last Night. Now It's Time to Get to Work," 7 Nov. 2018 In fact, this encouraging community will continue to sustain you through the next astrological season, as the sun glides into Scorpio on Tuesday, October 23. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Sagittarius Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018 While at the beginning of a relationship, your S.O. may go out of their way to show their love for you, sometimes that wanes off as the relationship sustains itself for a few months or years. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "21 Red Flags To Watch Out For In Your Relationship," 22 Aug. 2018 Jacquet understands that her intended career path is a formidable challenge, but talking to experienced women in the field and researching online haves sustained her. Abby Haglage, refinery29.com, "4 Black Girls With Big Dreams & The 4 Women Living Them," 13 July 2018 The movie has smarter-than-usual critiques of corporate imperatives (the more Wall Street learns about Lift’s depraved and exploitative labor schemes, the more the stock goes up), and just enough crazy jokes to sustain it. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Sorry to Bother You': The funniest movie you'll ever see about labor organizing," 11 July 2018 Some research suggests biscuits and gravy dates as far back as the Revolutionary War, a hearty plate made with simple ingredients that’s quick to prepare and hefty enough to sustain you through the day. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "10 iconic American foods for Fourth of July and the best places to get them in Phoenix," 3 July 2018 Restocking the farm system is how all teams sustain themselves, and the Rangers are placing a focus on development in the minors in addition to their long-range plan for the big-league club. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: It's July, and Rangers have some restocking to do," 1 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

31 Dec 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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