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From Middle English withstanden, from Old English wiþstandan, equivalent to with- (against) +‎ stand. Compare Dutch weerstaan (to withstand, repel), German widerstehen (to withstand, resist, defy).



withstand (third-person singular simple present withstands, present participle withstanding, simple past and past participle withstood)

  1. To resist or endure (something) successfully.
    • 2014 October 26, Jeff Howell, “Is the Japanese knotweed threat exaggerated? Our troubleshooter calls for calm about Japanese knotweed in the garden – and moss on the roof [print version: Don't panic about an overhyped invasion, 25 October 2014, p. P13]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Property)[1]:
      Some old, underfired clay pantiles might be damaged by button mosses rooting in cracks and fissures. But most post-war tiles are hard enough to withstand a bit of moss growth.
  2. To oppose (something) forcefully.

Related terms[edit]


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