main·​te·​nance | \ ˈmānt-nən(t)s How to pronounce maintenance (audio) , ˈmān-tə-nən(t)s \

Definition of maintenance

1 : the act of maintaining : the state of being maintained : support The building has suffered from years of poor maintenance.
2 : something that maintains at least half of them are living parasitically on the other half instead of producing maintenance for themselves— G. B. Shaw
3 : the upkeep of property or equipment the maintenance of the school
4 : an officious or unlawful intermeddling in a legal suit by assisting either party with means to carry it on

Examples of maintenance in a Sentence

Soon he could take an Underwood apart and put it together blindfolded, a trick that won him the account for maintenance of all the typewriters at Columbia-Presbyterian hospital … — Ian Frazier, Atlantic, November 1997 The building has suffered from years of poor maintenance. the costs of routine car maintenance maintenance of law and order money for the family's maintenance
Recent Examples on the Web These dainty flowers, which bloom in shades of white, pink, and red, require very little maintenance and upkeep (no deadheading or pruning required!). Terri Robertson, Country Living, 22 June 2022 The 57th Operations Group basically manages Nellis’ Aggressor Nation including the 64th AGRS, the 6th Weapons Squadron and other air-ground weapons coordination, maintenance, surface-to-air defense and cyber/information units. Eric Tegler, Forbes, 22 June 2022 Judges will use the following scoring criteria: 40 points, overall effect of garden design; 30 points, overall quality of plant materials; 10 points, originality; maintenance, 20 points -- with a possible 100-point total. Carol Kovach, cleveland, 21 June 2022 Help with trail maintenance, invasive plant management, structural repairs and gardening. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 13 June 2022 The monthly all-inclusive subscription comes with insurance, roadside assistance, vehicle maintenance, and convenient concierge delivery and pick up. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, 9 June 2022 The money was left unspent because of a high number of vacancies, and administrators wanted to move the money to areas including maintenance, textbooks and administration. Alison Knezevich, Baltimore Sun, 7 June 2022 Making changes to take your yard from high-maintenance (and resource-draining) to eco-friendly can save you time and money—and even give you a new level of curb appeal. Kristine Gill, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 June 2022 That article denied speculation that China Eastern Airlines had cut its plane maintenance budget. Chris Buckley, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of maintenance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for maintenance

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from maintenir — see maintain

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best vacuum cleaners.

Learn More About maintenance

Time Traveler for maintenance

Time Traveler

The first known use of maintenance was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near maintenance



maintenance bond

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for maintenance

Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Maintenance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for maintenance


main·​te·​nance | \ ˈmān-tə-nəns How to pronounce maintenance (audio) \

Kids Definition of maintenance

1 : the act of keeping or providing for : the state of being kept or provided for One of government's jobs is the maintenance of law and order. We collected money for the family's maintenance.
2 : upkeep Workers in charge of maintenance painted the building.


main·​te·​nance | \ ˈmānt-nən(t)s, -ᵊn-ən(t)s How to pronounce maintenance (audio) \

Medical Definition of maintenance

: designed or adequate to maintain a patient in a stable condition : serving to maintain a gradual process of healing or to prevent a relapse a maintenance dose maintenance chemotherapy



Legal Definition of maintenance

1a : the act of providing basic and necessary support
b : the state of having such support
2 : a financial means of providing necessary assistance: as
a : alimony
b : support
3 : the necessities of life provided for by payment of maintenance
4 : the upkeep of property or equipment
5 : unsought and unnecessary meddling in a lawsuit by assisting either party with means to carry it on — compare champerty

More from Merriam-Webster on maintenance

Nglish: Translation of maintenance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of maintenance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about maintenance


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!