American English

Definition of sustain verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they sustain
    he / she / it sustains
    past simple sustained
    -ing form sustaining
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  1. 1sustain somebody/something to provide enough of what someone or something needs in order to live or exist Which planets can sustain life? I only had a little chocolate to sustain me on my walk. The love and support of his family sustained him during his time in prison. When she lost her job they could no longer sustain their expensive lifestyle.
  2. 2sustain something to make something continue for some time without becoming less synonym maintain a period of sustained economic growth a sustained attack She managed to sustain everyone's interest until the end of her speech. Kangaroos can sustain high speeds over long distances. the sustaining pedal of a piano (= that allows a note to continue sounding for a long time)
  3. 3sustain something (formal) to experience something bad synonym suffer to sustain damage/an injury/a defeat The company sustained losses of millions of dollars.
  4. 4sustain something to provide evidence to support an opinion, a theory, etc. synonym uphold The evidence is not detailed enough to sustain his argument.
  5. 5sustain something (formal) to support a weight without breaking or falling synonym bear The ice will not sustain your weight.
  6. 6sustain something (law) to decide that a claim, etc. is valid synonym uphold The court sustained his claim that the contract was illegal. Objection sustained! (= said by a judge when a lawyer makes an objection in court)
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: sustain