1. The act of maintaining or the state of being maintained: nutrients essential to the maintenance of good health.
2. The work of keeping something in proper condition; upkeep: car maintenance.
a. Provision of support or livelihood: took over the maintenance of her family.
b. Means of support or livelihood: was ordered to pay maintenance for both children.
4. Law The wrongful aiding of another in the pursuit or defense of a lawsuit, especially in jurisdictions where nonparties are legally prohibited to provide financial assistance.
[Middle English maintenaunce, from Old French maintenance, from maintenir, to maintain; see MAINTAIN.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.