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

Not only the strongest field ever, but the magnetic field created by scientists at the University of Tokyo was sustained for a longer period than any other comparable magnetic field. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Create Ultra-Powerful Magnetic Field, Immediately Blows Up," 27 Sep. 2018 Those have been sustained since former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was installed as top U.S. diplomat in April and despite the president’s growing calls for friendship with Putin. Matthew Lee, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump wish for warm Putin ties highlights policy disconnect," 14 July 2018 Moments like that, in which semi-surreal details are happened upon rather than contrived, demonstrate Van Sant at his most easeful, and the languor is sustained by Jonah Hill, as Donnie, a rich and sickly soul who becomes John’s A.A. sponsor. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Gus Van Sant’s Semi-Surreal “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”," 13 July 2018 Injuries were sustained by people both inside the vehicle and in the store. Claire Morgan And Daniel Wilson, sacbee, "Six people injured after woman drives through south Sacramento storefront," 12 July 2018 Where managers have succeeded they in turn have quickly fallen out of favour, players have also come and gone and in some cases returned again only to once again be marginalised - see David Luiz and Nemanja Matic - yet success has been sustained. SI.com, "The Mounting Uncertainty at Chelsea Has Seen the Club Relinquish Their Top 4 Birthright," 9 July 2018 Of the 8,700 cases during that period, 70 percent were sustained by males. Tom Avril, Philly.com, "Fourth of July fireworks: Be wary. Even sparklers can kill," 30 June 2018 These videos set a slightly odd tone - grand and nostalgic - which isn't sustained in the rest of the museum. Philip Kennicott, chicagotribune.com, "50 years later, the St. Louis Arch emerges with a new name and a skeptical view of western expansion," 26 June 2018 Alternatively, it could be seen as the minimal possible substance required for the surrounding spectacle and its self-serving claims of a historic peace deal to be sustained by both parties. The Economist, "Kim Jong Un did better than Donald Trump at the Singapore summit," 14 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

3 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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