View synonyms for sustain


[ suh-steyn ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.

    Synonyms: carry

  2. to bear (a burden, charge, etc.).
  3. to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.

    Synonyms: bear

  4. to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way, as under trial or affliction.
  5. to keep up or keep going, as an action or process:

    to sustain a conversation.

    Synonyms: maintain

  6. to supply with food, drink, and other necessities of life.
  7. to provide for (an institution or the like) by furnishing means or funds.
  8. to support (a cause or the like) by aid or approval.
  9. to uphold as valid, just, or correct, as a claim or the person making it:

    The judge sustained the lawyer's objection.

  10. to confirm or corroborate, as a statement:

    Further investigation sustained my suspicions.


/ səˈsteɪnɪdlɪ; səˈsteɪn /


  1. to hold up under; withstand

    to sustain great provocation

  2. to undergo (an injury, loss, etc); suffer

    to sustain a broken arm

  3. to maintain or prolong

    to sustain a discussion

  4. to support physically from below
  5. to provide for or give support to, esp by supplying necessities

    to sustain a charity

    to sustain one's family

  6. to keep up the vitality or courage of
  7. to uphold or affirm the justice or validity of

    to sustain a decision

  8. to establish the truth of; confirm


  1. music the prolongation of a note, by playing technique or electronics

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Derived Forms

  • sustainedly, adverb
  • susˈtained, adjective
  • susˈtaining, adjective
  • susˈtainment, noun
  • susˈtainingly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • sus·tain·a·ble adjective
  • sus·tain·ing·ly adverb
  • sus·tain·ment noun
  • non·sus·tain·ing adjective
  • un·sus·tain·ing adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of sustain1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English suste(i)nen, from Anglo-French sustenir, Old French, from Latin sustinēre “to uphold,” equivalent to sus- sus- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre “to hold”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of sustain1

C13: via Old French from Latin sustinēre to hold up, from sub- + tenēre to hold

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Example Sentences

To be sure, Russia’s economic ability to sustain its expansionism is questionable.

From Ozy

In some countries, officials are concerned not only that Facebook and Google are capturing much of the advertising dollars that have sustained journalism, but also with the types of articles getting shared.

From Fortune

The idea is that prices will only face sustained upward pressure when the economy is using all its resources –- including labor.

From Fortune

We’re trying to make enough for food, to sustain our households.

Earlier, in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, dinosaurs roamed Antarctica because enhanced volcanic activity, in the absence of those mountain chains, sustained carbon dioxide levels around 1,000 parts per million, compared to 415 ppm today.

They took me in and helped sustain me in the days that followed.

A winning team may pack the stadium, but you need that packed stadium to get top recruits and sustain victories.

How long can they sustain this momentum without falling victim to the same pitfalls as nearly every other long-running series?

Those were the very ills that you wanted to defeat, not help sustain.

Duhozanye has the land and the need, but lacks the $300,000 it will cost to build and sustain.

She was therefore prepared to sustain her part in the drama Routemberg was bringing on the tapis.

The ability to sustain the tone for a long time will increase, and with it the power of the muscles exercised.

Whenever a marriage can be set aside for some illegality, and is not, it will sustain her dower on his death.

Previous to this hour the Girondists had wished to sustain the throne, and merely to surround it with free institutions.

Those required to sustain life and preserve decency, besides other things to maintain her in her social condition.


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When To Use

What are other ways to say sustain?

To sustain a claim or an idea is to uphold it as valid, just or correct. How does sustain differ from the synonyms maintain, support, or uphold? Find out on

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Sussex spanielsustainability