[with-stand, with-]

verb (used with object), with·stood, with·stand·ing.

to stand or hold out against; resist or oppose, especially successfully: to withstand rust; to withstand the invaders; to withstand temptation.

verb (used without object), with·stood, with·stand·ing.

to stand in opposition; resist.

Origin of withstand

before 900; Middle English withstanden, Old English withstandan (see with-, stand); cognate with Old Norse vithstanda; akin to German widerstehen
Related formswith·stand·er, nounwith·stand·ing·ness, nounun·with·stand·ing, adjectiveun·with·stood, adjective

Synonyms for withstand

1. confront, face. See oppose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for withstand

Contemporary Examples of withstand

Historical Examples of withstand

  • It required all the captain's seamanship, and the efforts of all the crew, to withstand it.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He was just in time to help other troops, not in numbers enough to withstand the shock.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • He dreaded lest his principles should not withstand the strong temptation.

  • He was weak and soft-hearted, and had never been able to withstand a woman's tears.

  • This time the impact was so great the door could not withstand it, and down it came with a thud.

    The Dare Boys of 1776

    Stephen Angus Cox

British Dictionary definitions for withstand


verb -stands, -standing or -stood

(tr) to stand up to forcefully; resist
(intr) to remain firm in endurance or opposition
Derived Formswithstander, noun
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 withstand

Old English wiðstandan, from wið "against" (see with) + standan "to stand" (see stand (v.)); perhaps a loan-translation of Latin resistere "to resist" (see resist). Cf. Old Norse viðstanda, Old Frisian withstonda, Old High German widarstan. In 14c. and early 15c., withsit was in use with the same meaning. Related: Withstood; withstanding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper