What does maintain mean?

Definitions for maintain

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word maintain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. keep, maintain, holdverb

    keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g., "keep clean"

    "hold in place"; "She always held herself as a lady"; "The students keep me on my toes"

  2. conserve, preserve, maintain, keep upverb

    keep in safety and protect from harm, decay, loss, or destruction

    "We preserve these archeological findings"; "The old lady could not keep up the building"; "children must be taught to conserve our national heritage"; "The museum curator conserved the ancient manuscripts"

  3. sustain, keep, maintainverb

    supply with necessities and support

    "She alone sustained her family"; "The money will sustain our good cause"; "There's little to earn and many to keep"

  4. assert, asseverate, maintainverb

    state categorically

  5. wield, exert, maintainverb

    have and exercise

    "wield power and authority"

  6. keep, maintainverb

    maintain for use and service

    "I keep a car in the countryside"; "She keeps an apartment in Paris for her shopping trips"

  7. keep, maintainverb

    maintain by writing regular records

    "keep a diary"; "maintain a record"; "keep notes"

  8. maintain, defendverb

    state or assert

    "He maintained his innocence"

  9. uphold, maintainverb

    support against an opponent

    "The appellate court upheld the verdict"

  10. observe, keep, maintainverb

    stick to correctly or closely

    "The pianist kept time with the metronome"; "keep count"; "I cannot keep track of all my employees"


  1. maintainverb

    To support (someone), to back up or assist (someone) in an action.

  2. maintainverb

    To keep up; to preserve; to uphold (a state, condition etc.).

  3. maintainverb

    To declare or affirm (a clause) to be true; to assert.

  4. Etymology: From maintenir, maintenir, from manutenere, from manu + tenere.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To MAINTAINverb

    Etymology: maintenir, French.

    The ingredients being prescribed in their substance, maintain the blood in a gentle fermentation, reclude oppilations, and mundify it. Gideon Harvey.

    This place, these pledges of your love, maintain. Dryd.

    God values no man more or less, in placing him high or low, but every one as he maintains his post. Nehemiah Grew, Cosmol.

    If any man of quality will maintain upon Edward earl of Glo’ster, that he is a manifold traitor, let him appear. William Shakespeare.

    These possessions being unlawfully gotten, could not be maintained by the just and honourable law of England. Davies.

    My right, nor think the name of mother vain. Dryden.

    Lord Roberts was full of contradiction in his temper, and of parts so much superior to any in the company, that he could too well maintain and justify those contradictions. Edward Hyde.

    It is hard to maintain the truth. South.

    Maintain talk with the duke, that my charity be not of him perceived. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    Some did the song, and some the choir maintain,
    Beneath a laurel shade. Dryden.

    I seek not to wax great by others waining;
    Sufficeth, that I have maintains my state,
    And sends the poor well pleased from my gate. William Shakespeare.

    What concerns it you if I wear pearl and gold? I thank my good father I am able to maintain it. William Shakespeare.

    It was St. Paul’s choice to maintain himself by his own labour. Richard Hooker.

    If a woman maintain her husband, she is full of anger and much reproach. Ecclus. xxv. 22.

    It is hard to maintain the truth, but much harder to be maintained by it. Could it ever yet feed, cloath, or defend its assertors? South.

    Here ten thousand images remain
    Without confusion, and their rank maintain. Richard Blackmore.

  2. To Maintainverb

    To support by argument; to assert as a tenet.

    In tragedy and satire I maintain against some of our modern criticks, that this age and the last have excelled the ancients. John Dryden, Juvenal.


  1. maintain

    The technical meaning of maintenance involves functional checks, servicing, repairing or replacing of necessary devices, equipment, machinery, building infrastructure, and supporting utilities in industrial, business, and residential installations. Over time, this has come to include multiple wordings that describe various cost-effective practices to keep equipment operational; these activities occur either before or after a failure.


  1. maintain

    To maintain is to keep something in an existing or proper state or condition, to continue or preserve something without interruption or change, or to provide necessary support or care for something or someone. It can also refer to the act of asserting or upholding something as true or valid.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Maintainverb

    to hold or keep in any particular state or condition; to support; to sustain; to uphold; to keep up; not to suffer to fail or decline; as, to maintain a certain degree of heat in a furnace; to maintain a fence or a railroad; to maintain the digestive process or powers of the stomach; to maintain the fertility of soil; to maintain present reputation

  2. Maintainverb

    to keep possession of; to hold and defend; not to surrender or relinquish

  3. Maintainverb

    to continue; not to suffer to cease or fail

  4. Maintainverb

    to bear the expense of; to support; to keep up; to supply with what is needed

  5. Maintainverb

    to affirm; to support or defend by argument

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. maintain

    When any body of men defend a place or post against the attacks of an adverse party, they are said to maintain it.

Editors Contribution

  1. maintain

    To ensure an optimum level.

    They manage to maintain their love by always cuddling, speaking, touching, exercising and connecting with their families.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 27, 2020  

  2. maintain

    To ensure.

    They did maintain peace easily in their country as everyone chooses it.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 5, 2020  

  3. maintain

    To keep a house, property, form of housing, vehicle, thing, item, business, company, enterprise, organization or form of unity government clean, neat, tidy and functioning at an optimum level.

    We all have to maintain what we have and ensure it continues to function at an optimum level.

    Submitted by MaryC on December 26, 2019  

Suggested Resources

  1. maintain

    Song lyrics by maintain -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by maintain on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'maintain' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1897

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'maintain' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2774

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'maintain' in Verbs Frequency: #181

How to pronounce maintain?

How to say maintain in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of maintain in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of maintain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of maintain in a Sentence

  1. John Cornyn:

    I think no matter who is elected president of the United States in November, it's important we maintain the Republican majority in the United States Senate. The Supreme Court vacancy, if nothing else, ought to cause people to reach that conclusion, so whatever people need to do in their individual races on order to maintain that majority, I wholeheartedly support.

  2. Barack Obama:

    We continue to go after high-value targets inside of Yemen and we will continue to maintain the pressure which we require to keep the American people safe, what we have shown is that we can maintain the kind of pressure on these terrorist networks even in these kind of difficult environments.

  3. Francis Bacon:

    If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us.

  4. Alexander Pope:

    He who tells a lie is not sensible of how great a task he undertakes for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.

  5. Albert Camus:

    It is terrifying to see how easily, in certain people, all dignity collapses. Yet when you think about it, this is quite normal since they only maintain this dignity by constantly striving against their own nature.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for maintain

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"maintain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/maintain>.

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    a fabric with a nap that is longer and softer than velvet
    • A. frantic
    • B. plush
    • C. cosmopolitan
    • D. dangerous

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