mainstay

[ meyn-stey ]
/ ˈmeɪnˌsteɪ /

noun

Nautical. the stay that secures the mainmast forward.
a person or thing that acts as a chief support or part: Coffee is the mainstay of the country's economy.

Nearby words

  1. mainour,
  2. mains,
  3. mainsail,
  4. mainsheet,
  5. mainspring,
  6. mainstream,
  7. mainstream corporation tax,
  8. mainstreamer,
  9. mainstreaming,
  10. mainstreeting

Origin of mainstay

First recorded in 1475–85; main1 + stay2

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mainstay


British Dictionary definitions for mainstay

mainstay

/ (ˈmeɪnˌsteɪ) /

noun

nautical the forestay that braces the mainmast
a chief support
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

Word Origin and History for mainstay

mainstay

n.

"chief support," 1787, figurative use of a nautical noun meaning "stay which extends from the main-top to the foot of the foremast" (late 15c.), from main (adj.) + stay (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper