Meaning of “maintain” in the English Dictionary

"maintain" in British English

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maintainverb [ T ]

uk /meɪnˈteɪn/ us /meɪnˈteɪn/

maintain verb [ T ] (CONTINUE TO HAVE)

B2 to continue to have; to keep in existence, or not allow to become less:

The army has been brought in to maintain order in the region.
We have standards to maintain.
Despite living in different countries, the two families have maintained close links.
The film has maintained its position as the critics' favourite for another year.

More examples

  • With an election approaching, the prime minister is keen to maintain his popularity.
  • The Queen has maintained political neutrality throughout her reign.
  • Security during the president's visit must be maintained at all costs.
  • Several of the teachers were quite unable to maintain discipline.
  • The United Nations has maintained a presence in the region for some time.

maintain verb [ T ] (EXPRESS)

C2 to express firmly your belief that something is true:

Throughout his prison sentence, Dunn has always maintained his innocence.
[ + that ] He maintains that he has never seen the woman before.

More examples

  • He maintains that he was nowhere near the house.
  • They still maintain their innocence.
  • He firmly maintains that he was there at the time.
  • They maintain that their story is true.
  • The management maintain they did everything they could to avoid the disaster.

(Definition of “maintain” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"maintain" in American English

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maintainverb [ T ]

us /meɪnˈteɪn/

maintain verb [ T ] (CONTINUE TO HAVE)

to continue to have; to keep in existence, or not allow to become less:

Despite living in different states, the two families have maintained a close friendship.
You have to maintain a minimum balance in your checking account.

maintain verb [ T ] (PRESERVE)

to keep something in good condition:

A large house costs a lot to maintain.

maintain verb [ T ] (EXPRESS)

to express strongly your belief that something is true:

[ + (that) clause ] She maintains (that) she’s being criticized simply for telling the truth.

(Definition of “maintain” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"maintain" in Business English

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maintainverb [ T ]

uk /meɪnˈteɪn/ us

to make something continue in the same way or at the same level:

Maintaining a company's brand and reputation requires a lot of hard work.
Charities need only give 5% of proceeds each year to maintain a tax exemption.
We have been able to maintain prices for our customers at their current level.
The college has maintained links with similar institutions in other parts of the country.

to keep a building, machine, road, etc. in good condition by checking it regularly and repairing it if necessary:

The premises are clean and well maintained.
Communication is made difficult by the poorly maintained road network.
The commission operates and maintains 20 river bridges.

FINANCE to make regular payments in order to support someone financially or to keep something that you already own:

More and more people are struggling to afford the cost of maintaining a home.

to say firmly that something is true:

maintain (that) Senior accountants at the firm maintained they knew nothing of the transactions.

(Definition of “maintain” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)