Word of the Day : December 12, 2017

sustain

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verb suh-STAYN

Definition

1 : to provide with nourishment

2 : keep up, prolong

3 : to support the weight of : prop; also : to carry or withstand (a weight or pressure)

4 a : to buoy up

b : suffer, undergo

5 a : to support as true, legal, or just

b : to allow or admit as valid

Did You Know?

Sustain, prop, buttress, and brace all mean "to provide support for something or someone." Sustain (from Latin sus-, meaning "up," plus tenēre, meaning "to hold") may suggest constantly holding up or maintaining ("the floor sustains the weight of dozens of bookcases"). Prop often implies a tendency to fall, sink, or recede on the part of the thing being treated—and therefore, a need for strengthening or reinforcing ("propped up the damaged fence with long boards"). Buttress tends to involve strengthening, reinforcing, or stabilizing at a stress point ("buttress the economy"). Brace typically suggests supporting or strengthening so that the thing treated is made firm, unyielding, or rigid against pressure ("brace the shelf with an angle iron").


Examples

"It takes a village, a tribe, and a sorority to sustain one another, to flourish and to become an accomplished adult. So sisterhood means inspiring women around me, encouraging each other, crying, laughing, stumbling, and continuing on the path." — Diana Tofan, Glamour, November 2017

"So one of our main goals was how can we make the game safer, prevent the injury that I sustained and that others sustained, head and neck injuries, from happening without affecting the speed, intensity, heritage or adding any more rules to the game." — Thomas Smith, quoted on National Public Radio, 6 Jan. 2014



Word Family Quiz

What offspring of tenēre means "a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true"?

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