Definition of maintain in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /mānˈtān/


[with object]
1Cause or enable (a condition or state of affairs) to continue: the need to maintain close links between industry and schools
More example sentences
  • It will try to ensure that the right conditions are maintained to stimulate continued growth in the sector.
  • You are able to maintain stability in professional situations and retain a position of authority!
  • Sino-Japanese cooperation will undoubtedly continue to aid in maintaining peace and stability in the Korean peninsula.
preserve, conserve, keep, retain, keep going, keep alive, keep up, prolong, perpetuate, sustain, carry on, continue
1.1Keep (something) at the same level or rate: agricultural prices will have to be maintained
More example sentences
  • ACT is opposed to maintaining income tax rates at their present level when the Government has nearly an $8 billion surplus.
  • The rate of dextrose infusion needed to maintain stable blood glucose levels was monitored.
  • The coliseum looks unbelievably real, and I can't believe the level of detail we were able to attain while maintaining a fast frame rate.
1.2Keep (a building, machine, or road) in good condition or in working order by checking or repairing it regularly.
Example sentences
  • He notes that the building is maintained in good condition.
  • Neither side has the time or interest to maintain roads and buildings.
  • In the meantime it would repair and maintain the crumbling buildings.
keep in good condition, keep in (good) repair, keep up, service, care for, take good care of, look after
2Provide with necessities for life or existence: the allowance covers the basic costs of maintaining a child
More example sentences
  • They were maintained under standard conditions and were fed standard food and water ad libitum.
  • The horses were maintained on this diet throughout the study.
  • Animals were maintained on a standard laboratory diet.
support, provide for, keep, sustain;
nurture, feed, nourish
2.1Keep (a military unit) supplied with equipment and other requirements.
Example sentences
  • However, like any military force today, maintaining a modern, well-equipped, and ready armed force is a challenge.
  • Please let us know of your efforts to help train and maintain the Military Intelligence Corps.
  • Each major political regime maintained its own separate military apparatus.
2.2 archaic Give one’s support to; uphold: the king swears he will maintain the laws of God
More example sentences
  • Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God?
3 [reporting verb] State something strongly to be the case; assert: [with object]: he has always maintained his innocence [with clause]: he had persistently maintained that he would not stand against his old friend [with direct speech]: “It was not an ideology at all,” she maintained
More example sentences
  • I have always maintained that all protests should be acted upon so a precedent and case study is set for the future.
  • Third, the idea/expression distinction should be strongly and vigorously maintained.
  • Mrs Gaskin maintains that her husband always had access to their two children who had visited him regularly in jail.
insist (on), declare, assert, protest, affirm, avow, profess, claim, allege, contend, argue, swear (to), hold to
formal aver



Pronunciation: /ˌmānˌtānəˈbilətē/
Example sentences
  • Such a decision would involve many factors: cost, maintainability, and consumer preference/branding issues, among others.
  • It will entail improvements to self-defence and war-fighting capabilities and enhancement to the ship's reliability, maintainability, availability and supportability.
  • Materials, including buff-colored brick, metal panels, glass and steel, create a positive visual impact and enhance the building's maintainability.


Example sentences
  • The JTR must be inherently reliable, maintainable, and deployable in order to minimize life cycle support costs.
  • The AD - 64D Apache Longbow is the most lethal, survivable, deployable and maintainable multimission helicopter in the world.
  • When this occurs, the TCP windows throttle back to reduce the data flow permissible to permit the TCP network to discover a new maintainable steady state.


Middle English (also in the sense 'practice (a good or bad action) habitually'): from Old French maintenir, from Latin manu tenere 'hold in the hand'.

Words that rhyme with maintain

abstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: main·tain

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.