[ suh-pawrt, -pohrt ]
See synonyms for: supportsupportedsupportingsupports on

verb (used with object)
  1. to bear or hold up (a load, mass, structure, part, etc.); serve as a foundation for.

  2. to sustain or withstand (weight, pressure, strain, etc.) without giving way; serve as a prop for.

  1. to undergo or endure, especially with patience or submission; tolerate.

  2. to sustain (a person, the mind, spirits, courage, etc.) under trial or affliction: They supported him throughout his ordeal.

  3. to maintain (a person, family, establishment, institution, etc.) by supplying with things necessary to existence; provide for: to support a family.

  4. to uphold (a person, cause, policy, etc.) by aid, countenance, one's vote, etc.; back; second.

  5. to maintain or advocate (a theory, principle, etc.).

  6. to corroborate (a statement, opinion, etc.): Leading doctors supported his testimony.

  7. to act with or second (a lead performer); assist in performance: The star was supported by a talented newcomer.

  1. the act or an instance of supporting.

  2. the state of being supported.

  1. something that serves as a foundation, prop, brace, or stay.

  2. maintenance, as of a person or family, with necessaries, means, or funds: to pay for support of an orphan.

  3. a person or thing that supports, as financially: The pension was his only support.

  4. a person or thing that gives aid or assistance.

  5. an actor, actress, or group performing with a lead performer.

  6. the material, as canvas or wood, on which a picture is painted.

  7. Stock Exchange. support level.

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

Origin of support

First recorded in 1350–1400; (verb) Middle English supporten, from Middle French supporter, from Medieval Latin supportāre “to endure” (Latin: “to convey”), equivalent to sup- sup- + portāre “to carry” (see port5); (noun) Middle English, derivative of the verb

word story For support

The English noun support derives from the verb support. The verb comes from Middle English supporten, soport, supporte, from Anglo-French and Middle French subporter, supporter, originally “to suffer patiently, endure,” then “to come to the help of,” and later “to be in favor of, encourage.” The Middle French subporter clearly shows its Latin original, supportāre (also subportāre ), which in Latin means only “to transport or carry (supplies) to a place.” The other senses of supportāre arose in Medieval Latin. Supportāre is a compound verb made up of the preposition and prefix sub, sub- (here in the sense “movement or position up close to”) and the simple verb portāre “to carry, convey, transport.”

Other words for support

Other words from support

  • sup·port·ing·ly, adverb
  • non·sup·port·ing, adjective
  • pre·sup·port, noun, verb (used with object)
  • pro·sup·port, adjective
  • qua·si-sup·port·ed, adjective
  • un·der·sup·port, noun
  • un·sup·port·ed, adjective
  • un·sup·port·ed·ly, adverb
  • un·sup·port·ing, adjective
  • well-sup·port·ed, adjective

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

How to use support in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for support


/ (səˈpɔːt) /

  1. to carry the weight of

  2. to bear or withstand (pressure, weight, etc)

  1. to provide the necessities of life for (a family, person, etc)

  2. to tend to establish (a theory, statement, etc) by providing new facts; substantiate

  3. to speak in favour of (a motion)

  4. to give aid or courage to

  5. to give approval to (a cause, principle, etc); subscribe to: to support a political candidature

  6. to endure with forbearance: I will no longer support bad behaviour

  7. to give strength to; maintain: to support a business

  8. (tr) (in a concert) to perform earlier than (the main attraction)

  9. films theatre

    • to play a subordinate role to

    • to accompany (the feature) in a film programme

  10. to act or perform (a role or character)

  1. the act of supporting or the condition of being supported

  2. a thing that bears the weight or part of the weight of a construction

  1. a person who or thing that furnishes aid

  2. the means of maintenance of a family, person, etc

  3. a band or entertainer not topping the bill

  4. the support an actor or group of actors playing subordinate roles

  5. med an appliance worn to ease the strain on an injured bodily structure or part

  6. the solid material on which a painting is executed, such as canvas

Origin of support

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

Derived forms of support

  • supportless, adjective

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