from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A chief support: Agriculture is a mainstay of the economy.
- n. Nautical A strong rope that serves to steady and support the mainmast of a sailing vessel.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A chief support.
- n. A stabilising rope from the top of the mainmast to the bottom of the foremast.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The stay extending from the foot of the foremast to the maintop.
- n. Main support; principal dependence.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The rope which secures the head of the mainmast of a vessel forward.
- n. 2. Chief support; main dependence: as, their mainstay is fishing.
- n. plural All the stays which give support to the main lower mast, maintopmast, and maintopgallantmast.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a prominent supporter
- n. a central cohesive source of support and stability
- n. the forestay that braces the mainmast
From main + stay (“rope”). (Wiktionary)