[ meyn-teyn ]
See synonyms for maintain on
verb (used with object)
  1. to keep in existence or continuance; preserve; retain: to maintain good relations with neighboring countries.

  2. to keep in an appropriate condition, operation, or force; keep unimpaired: to maintain order; to maintain public highways.

  1. to keep in a specified state, position, etc.: to maintain a correct posture; to maintain good health.

  2. to affirm; assert; declare: He maintained that the country was going downhill.

  3. to support in speech or argument, as a statement or proposition.

  4. to keep or hold against attack: to maintain one's ground.

  5. to provide for the upkeep or support of; carry the expenses of: to maintain a family.

  6. to sustain or support: not enough water to maintain life.

Origin of maintain

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English mainteinen from Old French maintenir, ultimately from Medieval Latin manūtenēre, Latin manū tenēre literally, “to hold in hand,” equivalent to manū, ablative of manus “hand” + tenēre “to hold”; see manual, tenet

synonym study For maintain

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.

Other words for maintain

Opposites for maintain

Other words from maintain

  • main·tain·a·ble, adjective
  • main·tain·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • main·tain·er, noun
  • pre·main·tain, verb (used with object)
  • self-main·tained, adjective
  • self-main·tain·ing, adjective
  • un·der·main·tain, verb (used with object)
  • un·der·main·tained, adjective
  • un·main·tain·a·ble, adjective
  • un·main·tained, adjective
  • well-main·tained, adjective

Words Nearby maintain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use maintain in a sentence

  • The dormant accounts most of the banks maintain with the reserve bank are, perhaps, indicative of their attitude toward it.

    Readings in Money and Banking | Chester Arthur Phillips
  • I always maintain that our women are of immense service to us, but many of them are physically unfit.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • But in one respect the currency notes helped to maintain the country's gold standard.

    Readings in Money and Banking | Chester Arthur Phillips
  • My own opportunities have been very limited, yet so far as they go they tend to maintain the justice of this remark.

    Glances at Europe | Horace Greeley
  • Not one of the early electric actions proved either quick or reliable, and all were costly to install and maintain.

British Dictionary definitions for maintain


/ (meɪnˈteɪn) /

  1. to continue or retain; keep in existence

  2. to keep in proper or good condition: to maintain a building

  1. to support a style of living: the money maintained us for a month

  2. (takes a clause as object) to state or assert: he maintained that Talbot was wrong

  3. to defend against contradiction; uphold: she maintained her innocence

  4. to defend against physical attack

Origin of maintain

C13: from Old French maintenir, ultimately from Latin manū tenēre to hold in the hand

Derived forms of maintain

  • maintainable, adjective
  • maintainer, noun

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