- to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.
- to bear (a burden, charge, etc.).
- to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.
- to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way, as under trial or affliction.
- to keep up or keep going, as an action or process: to sustain a conversation.
- to supply with food, drink, and other necessities of life.
- to provide for (an institution or the like) by furnishing means or funds.
- to support (a cause or the like) by aid or approval.
- to uphold as valid, just, or correct, as a claim or the person making it: The judge sustained the lawyer's objection.
- to confirm or corroborate, as a statement: Further investigation sustained my suspicions.
Origin of sustain
1250–1300; Middle English suste(i)nen < Anglo-French sustenir, Old French < Latin sustinēre to uphold, equivalent to sus- sus- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre to hold
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. See support.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sustain
A winning team may pack the stadium, but you need that packed stadium to get top recruits and sustain victories.How The University of Wisconsin Badgers Are Bucking the Big Ten Ticket Flop
October 31, 2014
How long can they sustain this momentum without falling victim to the same pitfalls as nearly every other long-running series?Will Gardner Had to Die So That ‘The Good Wife’ Could Thrive
September 19, 2014
Duhozanye has the land and the need, but lacks the $300,000 it will cost to build and sustain.After the Genocide, Rwanda’s Widows Aging Alone
August 31, 2014
But fluctuations of mere feet during its flood season could sustain the rise of empires, or hasten their fall.The Nile: Where Ancient and Modern Meet
June 21, 2014
Moreover, any truly effective coordination would be politically controversial, logistically problematic, and hard to sustain.How Iran and America Can Beat ISIS Together
Ben Van Heuvelen
June 21, 2014
Gotleib contended that Arledge could sustain the reduction required.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
You have summoned me in my weakness; you must sustain me by your strength.
God helping me, I will not fail them, if they will but counsel and sustain me!
Do you assist me, comfort me, sustain me in dreadful situation?The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
The voice which calls upon us to sustain them is the voice of God.The Works of Whittier, Volume VII (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
- to hold up under; withstandto sustain great provocation
- to undergo (an injury, loss, etc); sufferto sustain a broken arm
- to maintain or prolongto sustain a discussion
- to support physically from below
- to provide for or give support to, esp by supplying necessitiesto sustain one's family; to sustain a charity
- to keep up the vitality or courage of
- to uphold or affirm the justice or validity ofto sustain a decision
- to establish the truth of; confirm
- music the prolongation of a note, by playing technique or electronics
C13: via Old French from Latin sustinēre to hold up, from sub- + tenēre to hold
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 sustain
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper