Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: maintenir, from Latin manu tenere 'to hold in the hand'


main‧tain S3 W2 [transitive]

make something continue

to make something continue in the same way or at the same standard as before:
Careers Officers maintain contact with young people when they have left school.
Britain wants to maintain its position as a world power.
A lot depends on building and maintaining a good relationship with your customers.
The hotel prides itself on maintaining high standards.
How can we maintain control of spending?


to make a level or rate of activity, movement etc stay the same:
It is important to maintain a constant temperature inside the greenhouse.
This is the most efficient way to build up and maintain a reasonable level of physical fitness.


to strongly express your belief that something is true [= claim]
maintain (that)
Critics maintain that these reforms will lead to a decline in educational standards.
maintain your innocence (=say that you did not commit a crime)
He maintained his innocence and said the allegations were 'ridiculous'.

look after something

to keep a machine, building etc in good condition by checking and repairing it regularly:
The report found that safety equipment had been very poorly maintained.
The company is responsible for maintaining public telephone boxes.

provide money/food

to provide someone with the things they need, such as money or food [= provide for]:
How can you maintain a family on $900 a month?

Dictionary results for "maintain"
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