main·tain AW [maintain maintains maintained maintaining] BrE [meɪnˈteɪn]
NAmE [meɪnˈteɪn]
1. ~ sth to make sth continue at the same level, standard, etc.
Syn: preserve
to maintain law and order/standards/a balance
The two countries have always maintained close relations.
(formal) She maintained a dignified silence.
to maintain prices (= prevent them falling or rising)
2. ~ sth to keep a building, a machine, etc. in good condition by checking or repairing it regularly
The house is large and difficult to maintain.
3. to keep stating that sth is true, even though other people do not agree or do not believe it
Syn: insist
~ (that)… The men maintained (that) they were out of the country when the crime was committed.
~ sth She has always maintained her innocence.
+ speech ‘But I'm innocent!’ she maintained.
4. ~ sb/sth to support sb/sth over a long period of time by giving money, paying for food, etc.
Syn: keep
Her income was barely enough to maintain one child, let alone three.
Verb forms:
Word Origin:
Middle English (also in the sense ‘practise an action habitually’): from Old French maintenir, from Latin manu tenere ‘hold in the hand’.
maintain verb
1. T
We must maintain law and order.
keep sth up • • preserve • • sustain • • extend • • prolong|especially spoken keep sth going|formal perpetuate|often disapproving, especially business prop sth up
maintain/keep up/preserve/sustain standards/a relationship
maintain/keep up/sustain levels/rates/morale/interest/growth
maintain/preserve/sustain/extend/prolong (sb's) life
Maintain or sustain? Maintain is used especially to talk about keeping sth at its usual level for an unlimited period of time; sustain is used more to talk about keeping sth at a higher level than usual for a long but not unlimited period
Is the role of the state simply to maintain the status quo?
How long can such fast growth be sustained?
2. T
The house and its grounds are beautifully maintained.
preserve • • service • • keep sth up
maintain/preserve a house
maintain/service a/an car/appliance
have/keep sth maintained/preserved/serviced
Language Bank:
Verbs for reporting an opinion
Some critics argue that Picasso remained a great master all his life.
Others maintain that there is a significant deterioration in quality in his post-war work.
Picasso himself claimed that good art is created, but great art is stolen.
As Smith has noted , Picasso borrowed imagery from African art.
As the author points out , Picasso borrowed imagery from African art.
The writer challenges the notion that Picasso's sculpture was secondary to his painting.
It has been suggested that Picasso's painting was influenced by jazz music.
Language Banks at about, according to
Example Bank:
His priority is to maintain and protect his family.
Under the terms of the agreement she had forfeited her right to be maintained by her husband.
Commercial aircraft generally maintain cabin altitudes between 6 000 and 8 000 feet.
He emphasized the need to maintain the status quo.
He has always maintained his innocence.
He successfully maintained the financial health of the company.
It is difficult to maintain that such a harsh punishment was justified.
The company has easily maintained its position as the leading brand in the money-transfer business.
The government's position became increasingly difficult to maintain.
They are looking to cut costs while simultaneously maintaining the existing levels of service.
This pace cannot be maintained indefinitely.
We are anxious to maintain our close links with the police.
a poorly maintained central heating system
I do a lot of mechanical work and I maintain my own car.
Our principle task is to maintain law and order.
She has always maintained her innocence.
The grounds are beautifully maintained.
The wheel spats collect debris and make it difficult to maintain the brakes.

WordNet Dictionary:
1. 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
Syn: keep, hold
- 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
Syn: conserve, preserve, keep up
3. 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
Syn: sustain, keep
4. state categorically
Syn: assert, asseverate
- They maintain that there was a traffic accident
5. have and exercise
- wield power and authority
Syn: wield, exert
6. state or assert
- He maintained his innocence
Syn: defend
7. maintain by writing regular records
- keep a diary
- maintain a record
- keep notes
Syn: keep
8. maintain for use and service
- I keep a car in the countryside
- She keeps an apartment in Paris for her shopping trips
Syn: keep
9. support against an opponent
- The appellate court upheld the verdict
Syn: uphold
10. stick to correctly or closely
- The pianist kept time with the metronome
- keep count
- I cannot keep track of all my employees
Syn: observe, keep

Webster's 1913 Dictionary:
v. t.1.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.
[imp. & p. p. Maintained ; p. pr. & vb. n. Maintaining.]
2.To keep possession of; to hold and defend; not to surrender or relinquish.
God values . . . every one as he maintains his post.
3.To continue; not to suffer to cease or fail.
Maintain talk with the duke.
4.To bear the expense of; to support; to keep up; to supply with what is needed.
Glad, by his labor, to maintain his life.
What maintains one vice would bring up two children.
5.To affirm; to support or defend by argument.
It is hard to maintain the truth, but much harder to be maintained by it.

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