verb (used with object)

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 formsmain·tain·a·ble, adjectivemain·tain·a·bil·i·ty, nounmain·tain·er, nounpre·main·tain, verb (used with object)self-main·tained, adjectiveself-main·tain·ing, adjectiveun·der·main·tain, verb (used with object)un·der·main·tained, adjectiveun·main·tain·a·ble, adjectiveun·main·tained, adjectivewell-main·tained, adjective

Synonyms for maintain

1. continue. 1, 2. keep up. 4. asseverate. 5. uphold, defend, vindicate, justify.

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.

Antonyms for maintain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for maintaining

Contemporary Examples of maintaining

Historical Examples of maintaining

  • She was maintaining that calm level of submission to fate which had been her lifelong habit.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • In an instant I was at her side, bowing but maintaining silence.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • But all this does59 not prevent us from maintaining our hypothesis.

  • To what, then, must we look for the reason of maintaining so strange an institution?

    Arthur O'Leary

    Charles James Lever

  • In this way I should escape the forfeiture of my credit, and the risk of maintaining it.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for maintaining


verb (tr)

to continue or retain; keep in existence
to keep in proper or good conditionto maintain a building
to support a style of livingthe money maintained us for a month
(takes a clause as object) to state or asserthe maintained that Talbot was wrong
to defend against contradiction; upholdshe maintained her innocence
to defend against physical attack
Derived Formsmaintainable, adjectivemaintainer, noun

Word Origin for maintain

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

Word Origin and History for maintaining



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