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  1. present participle of sustain
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 20, in The Dust of Conflict[1]:
      Tony's face expressed relief, and Nettie sat silent for a moment until the vicar said “It was a generous impulse, but it may have been a momentary one, while in the case of monk and crusader there must have been a sustaining purpose, and possibly a great abnegation, a leaving of lands and possessions.”


sustaining (plural sustainings)

  1. The process by which something is sustained or upheld.
    • 2012, Alan Ryan, On Politics
      Beginnings are very different from sustainings; the irregular, often violent, and improvised actions of the founder hero must be succeeded by the regular election of leaders according to law.


sustaining (comparative more sustaining, superlative most sustaining)

  1. That sustains, supports or provides sustenance.
    • 1641, John Milton, Of Prelatical Episcopacy, London: Thomas Underhill, p. 24,[2]
      [] eternall life, the end of all our wearisome labours, and all our sustaining hopes.
    • 1771, Elizabeth Griffith, The History of Lady Barton, London: T. Davies & T. Cadell, Volume 2, Letter 31, p. 21,[3]
      I turned quick to look for him, and saw him coming towards me, with another gentleman—But I saw no more, my senses forsook me; in spite of Maria’s sustaining arm, I fell motionless on the ground.
    • 1850, Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Chapter 58,[4]
      Sometimes, I had proceeded restlessly from place to place, stopping nowhere; sometimes, I had lingered long in one spot. I had had no purpose, no sustaining soul within me, anywhere.
    • 1929, Josephine Tey, The Man in the Queue, New York: Pocket Book, 1977, Chapter 1, p. 5,[5]
      They laughed and chattered, and passed each other sustaining bits of chocolate in torn silver paper.
    • 1988, Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming Pool Library, New York: Vintage, 1989, Chapter 8,
      [] I was thirsty & went to sit in the shade of the tea-terrace. The tea, served impractically in a glass, was refreshing, somehow muddy & more sustaining than tea I am used to.