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

Well, Emma's caption mentions Tom’s upcoming project Origin, a YouTube original series that follows the story of humans colonizing the only planet that can sustain life. Nicole Weaver, Teen Vogue, "Emma Watson and Tom Felton Held a "Harry Potter" Reunion," 8 Nov. 2018 Still, this is much more about the hardware innovation of making a virtually unbreakable AMOLED display, with a reasonable enough battery that can sustain the folding process. Nick Statt, The Verge, "We tried the world’s first folding phone, and it actually works," 6 Nov. 2018 Think of it this way: If advocacy is the engine of change, money is the fuel that sustains and propels advocacy campaigns. Linda Davis Taylor, SELF, "How to Use Money as an Extension of Your Political Voice," 6 Nov. 2018 An anemic offense, a starting rotation that couldn’t sustain a hot June, expected regression to the mean and a little less luck in one-run games would never allow such a run of winning baseball. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "It’s a celebration at Safeco Field, but visiting A’s enjoy all the fun of making playoffs," 24 Sep. 2018 Moon, who was the handmaiden of the Kim-Trump dialogue back in the spring, was under considerable pressure this week to extract concessions from Kim that could sustain the rapprochement between Washington and Pyongyang. Matthew Pennington, Fox News, "North Korea's offer of concessions comes with a catch for US," 20 Sep. 2018 Your dog may get his initial energy boost from carbs and be able to sustain that energy when the calories from the fat kick in later in the day. Shelby Deering, Country Living, "Ask a Country Vet: How Can I Keep My Sporting Dog Healthy and Happy?," 11 Sep. 2018 As Greenwald explained to us, a partnership like this can bring insight and best practices to a brand to help them create a long-term method of being able to successfully sustain producing plus sizing across the board. refinery29.com, "It's Happening! J.Crew Is Finally Introducing Plus Sizing," 10 July 2018 Now that the preliminary hurdles have been overcome, Pors hopes that their scaffolds will eventually be able to sustain follicles until eggs mature, a process that takes at least six months. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Artificial Ovaries Could Expand Fertility Options For Chemo Patients," 5 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

19 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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