from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To keep up or carry on; continue.
  • transitive verb To keep in an existing state; preserve or retain.
  • transitive verb To keep in a condition of good repair or efficiency.
  • transitive verb To provide for; support.
  • transitive verb To keep in existence; sustain.
  • transitive verb To defend or hold against criticism or attack.
  • transitive verb To declare to be true; affirm.
  • transitive verb To adhere or conform to; keep.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To hold in an existing state or condition; keep in existence or continuance; preserve from lapse, decline, failure, or cessation; keep up: as, to maintain an upright attitude; to maintain a conversation.
  • To furnish means for the subsistence or existence of; sustain or assist with the means of livelihood; provide for; support: as, to maintain a family or an army; to maintain a costly equipage.
  • To hold fast; keep in possession; preserve from capture or loss: as, to maintain one's ground in battle or in argument; to maintain an advantage.
  • To give support or encouragement to; uphold; countenance; vindicate, as by defense or adjudication.
  • To uphold by argument or assertion; hold to: as, to maintain the doctrine of the Trinity.
  • To represent; denote.
  • Synonyms and Defend, Vindicate, etc. See assert.
  • To behave; conduct one's self.
  • 2. To hold as true; hold.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To hold or keep in any particular state or condition; to support; to sustain; to uphold; to keep up; not to suffer to fail or decline
  • transitive verb To keep possession of; to hold and defend; not to surrender or relinquish.
  • transitive verb To continue; not to suffer to cease or fail.
  • transitive verb To bear the expense of; to support; to keep up; to supply with what is needed.
  • transitive verb To affirm; to support or defend by argument.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb stick to correctly or closely
  • verb have and exercise
  • verb support against an opponent
  • verb maintain by writing regular records
  • verb keep in safety and protect from harm, decay, loss, or destruction
  • verb state categorically
  • verb maintain for use and service
  • verb supply with necessities and support
  • verb state or assert
  • verb keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g.,


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English maintainen, from Old French maintenir, from Medieval Latin manutenēre, from Latin manū tenēre, to hold in the hand : manū, ablative of manus, hand; see man- in Indo-European roots + tenēre, to hold; see ten- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman maintenir, Old French maintenir, from Late Latin manutenere ("support"), from Latin manū ("with the hand") + tenēre ("hold").



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  • Mayor Bloomberg’s Least Favorite Word (New York Times, May 12, 2008):

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg may have a few words like “unconscionable�? that he cannot say frequently enough, but there is at least one word he apparently cannot abide: “maintain.�? It has such a negative connotation for the mayor that reporters wanting answers dare not speak its name.

    May 13, 2008

  • to assert

    The scientist maintained that the extinction of dinosaurs was most likely brought about by a drastic change in climate.

    This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study

    October 11, 2016