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- (transitive) To maintain, or keep in existence.
- The professor had trouble sustaining students’ interest until the end of her lectures.
- The city came under sustained attack by enemy forces.
- Sam managed to sustain his erection for two straight hours.
- 1949 June 8, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 9, in Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel, London: Secker & Warburg, →OCLC; republished [Australia]: Project Gutenberg of Australia, August 2001:
- All the beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes that characterize our time are really designed to sustain the mystique of the Party and prevent the true nature of present-day society from being perceived.
- (transitive) To provide for or nourish.
- provisions to sustain an army
- (transitive) To encourage or sanction (something). (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought:)
- (transitive) To experience or suffer (an injury, etc.).
- The building sustained major damage in the earthquake.
- 1613 (date written), William Shakespeare, [John Fletcher], “The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
- […] if you omit
The offer of this time, I cannot promise
But that you shall sustain moe new disgraces,
With these you bear already.
- (transitive) To confirm, prove, or corroborate; to uphold.
- to sustain a charge, an accusation, or a proposition
- 1876, Henry Martyn Robert, Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies, Chicago: Griggs, published 1885, Section 61 (e), page 167:
- After the vote is taken, the Chairman states that the decision of the Chair is sustained, or reversed, as the case may be.
- (law, of a judge) To allow, accept, or admit (e.g. an objection or motion) as valid.
- Antonym: overrule
- To keep from falling; to bear; to uphold; to support.
- A foundation sustains the superstructure; an animal sustains a load; a rope sustains a weight.
- To aid, comfort, or relieve; to vindicate.
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene iii]:
- When I desir’d their leave that I might pity him, they took from me the use of mine own house, charg’d me on pain of perpetual displeasure neither to speak of him, entreat for him, nor any way sustain him.
to maintain something
to provide for or nourish something
to encourage or sanction
to experience or suffer
to confirm, prove, or corroborate; to uphold
law: to allow, accept, or admit (e.g. an objection or motion) as valid
to keep from falling; to bear; to uphold; to support
to aid, comfort, or relieve; to vindicate
sustain (plural sustains)
- (music) A mechanism which can be used to hold a note, as the right pedal on a piano.
- 2011, Chuck Eddy, Rock and Roll Always Forgets, page 265:
- To call this music bland is to ignore the down-the-drain vocal fade-aways, the extended sax sustains […]