maintain

verb

main·​tain mān-ˈtān How to pronounce maintain (audio)
mən-
maintained; maintaining; maintains

transitive verb

1
: to keep in an existing state (as of repair, efficiency, or validity) : preserve from failure or decline
maintain machinery
2
: to sustain against opposition or danger : uphold and defend
maintain a position
3
: to continue or persevere in : carry on, keep up
couldn't maintain his composure
4
a
: to support or provide for
has a family to maintain
b
: sustain
enough food to maintain life
5
: to affirm in or as if in argument : assert
maintained that the earth is flat
maintainability noun
maintainable adjective
maintainer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for maintain

maintain, assert, defend, vindicate, justify mean to uphold as true, right, just, or reasonable.

maintain stresses firmness of conviction.

steadfastly maintained his innocence

assert suggests determination to make others accept one's claim.

asserted her rights

defend implies maintaining in the face of attack or criticism.

defended his voting record

vindicate implies successfully defending.

his success vindicated our faith in him

justify implies showing to be true, just, or valid by appeal to a standard or to precedent.

the action was used to justify military intervention

Example Sentences

They have always maintained high standards of professional conduct. He has found it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. The company has done a poor job of maintaining its computer network. It was obvious that the house had been poorly maintained. She was finding it hard to maintain her balance. She still maintains a close relationship with her college roommate. It's difficult to maintain a correspondence when we're both so busy. The pilot was struggling to maintain control of the aircraft. The police say that they will do whatever is necessary to maintain law and order. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The result is both visually and scientifically striking—many of the logs maintain their original external form through petrification while the interior structure is lost. Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Nov. 2022 There is no international database of honorary consuls, and many countries maintain poor records or release no information at all. ProPublica, 14 Nov. 2022 Conventional economic logic hinges on a core assumption: Bigger economies are better, and finding ways to maintain or boost growth is paramount to improving society. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 13 Nov. 2022 One of the zoo’s goals is to help the Navajo people maintain their link to the natural world through native plants and animals. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 11 Nov. 2022 Brush cutting, along with prescribed burning and grazing, are the primary tactics used to maintain - or increase - the number of grassland acres at the properties. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 10 Nov. 2022 To maintain shareholder support through the 2023 proxy season and beyond, companies and boards of directors will have to find ways to effectively communicate both their commitment to ESG and their strategies for achieving their ESG goals. Chris Perry, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 Some investors now expect stocks to maintain the rally through the typically quiet Thanksgiving holiday and into December, when the next major update on the health of the labor market will be released. Joe Rennison, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Nov. 2022 Tesla does not maintain a media relations department or respond to media inquiries. Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English mainteinen, from Anglo-French maintenir, maynteiner, from Medieval Latin manutenēre, from Latin manu tenēre to hold in the hand

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of maintain was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near maintain

Cite this Entry

“Maintain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maintain. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

maintain

verb

main·​tain mān-ˈtān How to pronounce maintain (audio)
mən-
1
: to keep in an existing state
especially : to keep in good condition
maintain one's health
maintain machinery
2
: to defend by argument
maintain a position
3
: to continue in : carry on, keep up
maintain your balance
maintain a correspondence
4
: to provide for : support
maintain my family by working
5
: to insist to be true
maintained that all men are equal
maintainable adjective
maintainer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on maintain

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