with·​stand with-ˈstand How to pronounce withstand (audio)
withstood with-ˈstu̇d How to pronounce withstand (audio)
; withstanding

transitive verb

: to stand up against : oppose with firm determination
especially : to resist successfully
: to be proof against : resist the effect of
withstand the impact of a landingCurrent Biography
archaic : to stop or obstruct the course of
Choose the Right Synonym for withstand

oppose, combat, resist, withstand mean to set oneself against someone or something.

oppose can apply to any conflict, from mere objection to bitter hostility or warfare.

opposed the plan

combat stresses the forceful or urgent countering of something.

combat disease

resist implies an overt recognition of a hostile or threatening force and a positive effort to counteract or repel it.

resisting temptation

withstand suggests a more passive resistance.

trying to withstand peer pressure

Examples of withstand in a Sentence

cookware that can withstand high temperatures I couldn't withstand the rigors of army life. They withstood attacks from many critics.
Recent Examples on the Web All of these heat-resistant surfaces can also withstand moisture to prevent damage to your countertops. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 15 Sep. 2023 The muted tones blend easily into your regular decor, and it’s made from durable ceramic to withstand trick-or-treaters. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 15 Sep. 2023 Many Detroit families could not withstand a $400 emergency, a report from Detroit City Council's Legislative Policy Division noted last year. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, 10 Sep. 2023 The fabric was also strong enough to withstand the pet brush, which only left a few visible scratches behind. Kathleen Felton, Better Homes & Gardens, 9 Sep. 2023 The earthquake was the biggest to hit the country in 120 years, toppling buildings not designed to withstand such powerful shaking. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2023 The quake brought down walls made from stone and masonry not designed to withstand quakes, covering whole communities with rubble and leaving residents picking their way precariously through remains. Sam Metz and Mosa’ab Eishamy, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 Sep. 2023 Some commentators doubted the governor's order would withstand legal challenges. Kristine Parks, Fox News, 9 Sep. 2023 China’s economic slowdown could also weigh on smartphone sales, though Apple has managed to withstand the drop in consumer confidence thus far. Bynicholas Gordon, Fortune, 8 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'withstand.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English withstandan, from with against + standan to stand

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of withstand was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near withstand

Cite this Entry

“Withstand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/withstand. Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


with·​stand with-ˈstand How to pronounce withstand (audio)
withstood -ˈstu̇d How to pronounce withstand (audio) ; withstanding
: to stand against : resist
especially : to oppose successfully

More from Merriam-Webster on withstand

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