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

Before becoming a rising star in the Democratic Party, Beto O’Rourke relied on a core group of business-minded Republicans in his Texas hometown to launch and sustain his political career. Reid J. Epstein, WSJ, "Beto O’Rourke’s Past GOP Ties Could Complicate Primary Run," 14 Mar. 2019 Wasp, which had been built with less armored protection than other aircraft carriers, was struck by three of the torpedoes and sustained heavy damage. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Explorers Have Found the Wreckage of the Sunken World War II Aircraft Carrier USS Wasp," 14 Mar. 2019 Her second, and lengthier message encourages Brits to vote that Prime Minister Theresa May guarantees sustained funding for rape crisis support services. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Celebrity Instagrams from International Women's Day 2019," 8 Mar. 2019 The number of concussions sustained during practice and gameplay in 2018 fell somewhat, from a total of 281 in 2017 to a total of 214 in 2018, according to the NFL’s injury data. Brian Resnick, Vox, "What a lifetime of playing football can do to the human brain," 4 Feb. 2019 This year’s Women’s March agenda focuses on sustaining that momentum through grassroots approaches to activism. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "Women's March 2019: Everything You Need to Know," 9 Jan. 2019 But the app’s success does follow a familiar pattern for Bytedance, which has demonstrated a startling ability to launch, grow, and sustain services that have users hooked. Sam Byford, The Verge, "How China’s Bytedance became the world’s most valuable startup," 30 Nov. 2018 Pumpkins set lots of flowers then drop the fruit the plant can't sustain to maturity. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How to Keep Pumpkins From Rotting and Ruining Everything You Love About Fall," 23 Aug. 2018 Rotterdam's Recycled Park on the New Meuse river is working to prevent plastic litter from entering the North Sea and sustain aquatic life in the process. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Take Note: This Park Is Made Of Recycled Litter From A River," 19 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

9 Apr 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

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