[suh-pawrt, -pohrt]
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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.
  3. to undergo or endure, especially with patience or submission; tolerate.
  4. to sustain (a person, the mind, spirits, courage, etc.) under trial or affliction: They supported him throughout his ordeal.
  5. to maintain (a person, family, establishment, institution, etc.) by supplying with things necessary to existence; provide for: to support a family.
  6. to uphold (a person, cause, policy, etc.) by aid, countenance, one's vote, etc.; back; second.
  7. to maintain or advocate (a theory, principle, etc.).
  8. to corroborate (a statement, opinion, etc.): Leading doctors supported his testimony.
  9. 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.
  3. something that serves as a foundation, prop, brace, or stay.
  4. maintenance, as of a person or family, with necessaries, means, or funds: to pay for support of an orphan.
  5. a person or thing that supports, as financially: The pension was his only support.
  6. a person or thing that gives aid or assistance.
  7. an actor, actress, or group performing with a lead performer.
  8. the material, as canvas or wood, on which a picture is painted.
  9. 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

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

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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 supporting

Contemporary Examples of supporting

Historical Examples of supporting

British Dictionary definitions for supporting


  1. (of a role) being a fairly important but not leading part, esp in a play or film
  2. (of an actor or actress) playing a supporting role


verb (tr)
  1. to carry the weight of
  2. to bear or withstand (pressure, weight, etc)
  3. to provide the necessities of life for (a family, person, etc)
  4. to tend to establish (a theory, statement, etc) by providing new facts; substantiate
  5. to speak in favour of (a motion)
  6. to give aid or courage to
  7. to give approval to (a cause, principle, etc); subscribe toto support a political candidature
  8. to endure with forbearanceI will no longer support bad behaviour
  9. to give strength to; maintainto support a business
  10. (tr) (in a concert) to perform earlier than (the main attraction)
  11. films theatre
    1. to play a subordinate role to
    2. to accompany (the feature) in a film programme
  12. 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
  3. a person who or thing that furnishes aid
  4. the means of maintenance of a family, person, etc
  5. a band or entertainer not topping the bill
  6. the support an actor or group of actors playing subordinate roles
  7. med an appliance worn to ease the strain on an injured bodily structure or part
  8. the solid material on which a painting is executed, such as canvas
  9. See athletic support
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 supporting



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

supporting in Medicine


  1. To bear the weight of, especially from below.
  2. To hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping.
  3. To be capable of bearing; withstand.
  4. To keep from weakening or failing; strengthen.
  5. To provide for or maintain, by supplying with money or necessities.
  6. To endure; tolerate.
  1. The act of supporting.
  2. The state of being supported.
  3. One that supports or maintains.
  4. 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.