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[meyn-teyn] /meɪnˈteɪn/
verb (used with object)
to keep in existence or continuance; preserve; retain:
to maintain good relations with neighboring countries.
to keep in an appropriate condition, operation, or force; keep unimpaired:
to maintain order; to maintain public highways.
to keep in a specified state, position, etc.:
to maintain a correct posture; to maintain good health.
to affirm; assert; declare:
He maintained that the country was going downhill.
to support in speech or argument, as a statement or proposition.
to keep or hold against attack:
to maintain one's ground.
to provide for the upkeep or support of; carry the expenses of:
to maintain a family.
to sustain or support:
not enough water to maintain life.
Origin of maintain
1200-50; Middle English mainteinen < Old French maintenirMedieval Latin manūtenēre, Latin manū tenēre literally, to hold in hand, equivalent to manū, ablative of manus hand (see manual) + tenēre to hold (see tenet)
Related forms
maintainable, adjective
maintainability, noun
maintainer, noun
premaintain, verb (used with object)
self-maintained, adjective
self-maintaining, adjective
undermaintain, verb (used with object)
undermaintained, adjective
unmaintainable, adjective
unmaintained, adjective
well-maintained, adjective
1. continue. 1, 2. keep up. 4. asseverate. 5. uphold, defend, vindicate, justify.
1. discontinue. 5. contradict.
Synonym Study
4. Maintain, assert, aver, allege, hold, state all mean to express an opinion, judgment, or position. Maintain carries the implications of both firmness and persistence in declaring or supporting a conviction: She maintained her client's innocence even in the face of damaging evidence. Assert suggests assurance, confidence, and sometimes aggressiveness in the effort to persuade others to agree with or accept one's position: He asserted again and again the government's right to control the waterway. Aver, like assert, implies confident declaration and sometimes suggests a firmly positive or peremptory tone; in legal use aver means “to allege as fact”: to aver that the evidence is incontrovertible. Allege indicates a statement without evidence to support it, and thus can imply doubt as to the validity or accuracy of an assertion: The official is alleged to have been unaware of the crime. Hold means simply to have or express a conviction or belief: We hold these truths to be self-evident; She held that her rights had been violated. State usually suggests a declaration that is forthright and unambiguous: He stated his reasons in clear, simple language. 7. See support. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for maintainer
Historical Examples
  • The maintainer is like the Arab; he never refuses to entertain a guest.

  • Yes, he said, that is quite what the maintainer of justice say.

    The Republic Plato
  • But the maintainer was gone and the Void hadn't closed in, yet.

    The Big Time Fritz Reuter Leiber
  • Any person proved to be a maintainer or embracer shall forfeit 400s.

  • I regarded my preserver with a higher feeling than a fond son may bear towards the mere author and maintainer of his existence.

  • The party which performed this service came into power as the maintainer of voluntary union.

    Thomas Jefferson Edward S. Ellis et. al.
  • Tercio—and here's the real meat of it—the Place folds without the maintainer.

    The Big Time Fritz Reuter Leiber
  • We'd got dry, were feeling human, Illy here had shed his swimsuit, when we looked at the maintainer.

    The Big Time Fritz Reuter Leiber
  • If we could have, we'd have even Introverted the maintainer, broken all the ties that bind us, chanced it incommunicado.

    The Big Time Fritz Reuter Leiber
  • Not me, though—I was still grateful to the maintainer for getting me out of that spot, whatever other it had got us all into.

    The Big Time Fritz Reuter Leiber
British Dictionary definitions for maintainer


verb (transitive)
to continue or retain; keep in existence
to keep in proper or good condition: to maintain a building
to support a style of living: the money maintained us for a month
(takes a clause as object) to state or assert: he maintained that Talbot was wrong
to defend against contradiction; uphold: she maintained her innocence
to defend against physical attack
Derived Forms
maintainable, adjective
maintainer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French maintenir, ultimately from Latin manū tenēre to hold in the hand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for maintainer



mid-13c., "to practice habitually," from Anglo-French meintenir (Old French maintenir, 12c.) "keep (a wife), sustain; persevere in, practice continually," from Latin manu tenere "hold in the hand," from manu, ablative of manus "hand" (see manual) + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Meaning "to carry on, keep up" is from mid-14c.; that of "to keep oneself, to support" is from late 14c. Sense of "to defend in speech" is from mid-14c. Related: Maintained; maintaining; maintains.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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maintainer in Medicine

maintainer main·tain·er (mān-tā'nər)
A device used to hold or keep teeth in a given position.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for maintainer



To stay under control; to keep one's composure: While he gives this silly speech, I need to maintain

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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