[ meyn-tuh-nuhns ]
See synonyms for maintenance on
  1. the act of maintaining: the maintenance of proper oral hygiene.

  2. the state of being maintained: the maintenance of friendly relations with England.

  1. care or upkeep, as of machinery or property: With proper maintenance the car will last for many years.

  2. means of upkeep, support, or subsistence; livelihood: to provide a comfortable maintenance.

  3. alimony or child support.

  4. Law. an officious meddling in a suit in which the meddler has no interest, by assisting either party with means to prosecute or defend it.

  1. Pharmacology, Psychiatry. administered to sustain a desired physiological or mental condition: maintenance dose.

Origin of maintenance

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English maintenaunce, from Middle French maintenance; equivalent to maintain + -ance

Other words from maintenance

  • non·main·te·nance, noun
  • pre·main·te·nance, noun
  • self-main·te·nance, noun

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

How to use maintenance in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for maintenance


/ (ˈmeɪntɪnəns) /

  1. the act of maintaining or the state of being maintained

  2. a means of support; livelihood

  1. (modifier) of or relating to the maintaining of buildings, machinery, etc: maintenance man

  2. law (formerly unlawful) the interference in a legal action by a person having no interest in it, as by providing funds to continue the action: See also champerty

  3. law a provision ordered to be made by way of periodical payments or a lump sum, as after a divorce for a spouse

  4. computing

    • the correction or prevention of faults in hardware by a programme of inspection and the replacement of parts

    • the removal of existing faults and the modification of software in response to changes in specification or environment

Origin of maintenance

C14: from Old French; see maintain

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