verb with·stand \ with-ˈstand , wit͟h- \
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of withstand

withstood play \with-ˈstu̇d, wit͟h-\; withstanding
transitive verb
1 a : to stand up against : oppose with firm determination; especially : to resist successfully
b : to be proof against : resist the effect of
  • withstand the impact of a landing
  • Current Biography
2 archaic : to stop or obstruct the course of

Examples of withstand in a Sentence

  1. cookware that can withstand high temperatures

  2. I couldn't withstand the rigors of army life.

  3. They withstood attacks from many critics.

Recent Examples of withstand from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'withstand.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of withstand

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

withstand Synonyms

buck, defy, fight, oppose, repel, resist
bow (to), capitulate (to), give in (to), knuckle under (to), stoop (to), submit (to), succumb (to), surrender (to), yield (to)
Related Words
battle, combat, contend (with); challenge, contest, contradict, dispute; baffle, balk, foil, frustrate, thwart; check, counter, hinder, obstruct, stem

Synonym Discussion of 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

WITHSTAND Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of withstand for English Language Learners

  • : to not be harmed or affected by (something)

  • : to deal with (something, such as an attack or criticism) successfully

WITHSTAND Defined for Kids


verb with·stand \ with-ˈstand , wit͟h- \

Definition of withstand for Students

withstood \-ˈstu̇d\; withstanding
1 : to hold out against
  • This house is able to withstand the worst weather.
2 : to oppose (as an attack) successfully

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