[suh-pawrt, -pohrt]

verb (used with object)



(of hosiery) made with elasticized fibers so as to fit snugly on the legs, thereby aiding circulation, relieving fatigue, etc.

Origin of support

1350–1400; (v.) Middle English supporten < Middle French supporter < Medieval Latin supportāre to endure (Latin: to convey), equivalent to sup- sup- + portāre to carry (see port5); (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related formssup·port·ing·ly, adverbnon·sup·port·ing, adjectivepre·sup·port, noun, verb (used with object)pro·sup·port, adjectivequa·si-sup·port·ed, adjectiveun·der·sup·port, nounun·sup·port·ed, adjectiveun·sup·port·ed·ly, adverbun·sup·port·ing, adjectivewell-sup·port·ed, adjective

Synonyms for support

Synonym study

1, 6. Support, maintain, sustain, uphold all mean to hold up and to preserve. To support is to hold up or add strength to, literally or figuratively: The columns support the roof. To maintain is to support so as to preserve intact: to maintain an attitude of defiance. To sustain, a rather elevated word, suggests completeness and adequacy in supporting: The court sustained his claim. Uphold applies especially to supporting or backing another, as in a statement, opinion, or belief: to uphold the rights of a minority. 13. See living. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for support

Contemporary Examples of support

Historical Examples of support

British Dictionary definitions for support


verb (tr)

to carry the weight of
to bear or withstand (pressure, weight, etc)
to provide the necessities of life for (a family, person, etc)
to tend to establish (a theory, statement, etc) by providing new facts; substantiate
to speak in favour of (a motion)
to give aid or courage to
to give approval to (a cause, principle, etc); subscribe toto support a political candidature
to endure with forbearanceI will no longer support bad behaviour
to give strength to; maintainto support a business
(tr) (in a concert) to perform earlier than (the main attraction)
films theatre
  1. to play a subordinate role to
  2. to accompany (the feature) in a film programme
to act or perform (a role or character)


the act of supporting or the condition of being supported
a thing that bears the weight or part of the weight of a construction
a person who or thing that furnishes aid
the means of maintenance of a family, person, etc
a band or entertainer not topping the bill
the support an actor or group of actors playing subordinate roles
med an appliance worn to ease the strain on an injured bodily structure or part
the solid material on which a painting is executed, such as canvas
Derived Formssupportless, adjective

Word Origin for support

C14: from Old French supporter, from Latin supportāre to bring, from sub- up + portāre to carry
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 support

late 14c., "to aid," also "to hold up, prop up," from Old French supporter, from Latin supportare "convey, carry, bring up," from sub "up from under" + portare "to carry" (see port (n.1)). Related: Supported; supporting.


late 14c., "act of assistance, backing, help, aid," from support (v.). Meaning "one who provides assistance, protection, backing, etc." is early 15c. Sense of "bearing of expense" is mid-15c. Physical sense of "that which supports" is from 1560s. Meaning "services which enable something to fulfil its function and remain in operation" (e.g. tech support) is from 1953.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

support in Medicine




To bear the weight of, especially from below.
To hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping.
To be capable of bearing; withstand.
To keep from weakening or failing; strengthen.
To provide for or maintain, by supplying with money or necessities.
To endure; tolerate.


The act of supporting.
The state of being supported.
One that supports or maintains.
Maintenance, as of a family, with the necessities of life.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.