Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: sustenir, from Latin sustinere 'to hold up, sustain', from sub- 'up' + tenere 'to hold'

sustain

verb
     
sus‧tain W3 [transitive]
1

make something continue

to make something continue to exist or happen for a period of time [= maintain]:
She found it difficult to sustain the children's interest.
He was incapable of sustaining close relationships with women.
the policies necessary to sustain economic growth
sustained
2

suffer

formal to suffer damage, an injury, or loss of money:
Two of the fire-fighters sustained serious injuries.
Some nearby buildings sustained minor damage.
The company has sustained heavy financial losses this year.
3

food/drink

formal if food or drink sustains a person, animal, or plant, it makes them able to continue living:
They gave me barely enough food to sustain me.
4

give strength

formal to make someone feel strong and hopeful:
The thought of seeing her again was all that sustained me.
5

weight

formal to hold up the weight of something [= support]:
He leant against her so heavily that she could barely sustain his weight.
6

idea

formal to support an idea or argument, or prove that it is right:
This argument is difficult to sustain.

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