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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. To hold or keep in any particular state or condition; to support; to sustain; to uphold; to keep up; not to suffer to fail or decline; as, to maintain a certain degree of heat in a furnace; to maintain a fence or a railroad; to maintain the digestive process or powers of the stomach; to maintain the fertility of soil; to maintain present reputation.

2. To keep possession of; to hold and defend; not to surrender or relinquish. God values . . . Every one as he maintains his post. (Grew)

3. To continue; not to suffer to cease or fail. Maintain talk with the duke. (Shak)

4. To bear the expense of; to support; to keep up; to supply with what is needed. Glad, by his labour, to maintain his life. (Stirling) What maintains one vice would bring up two children. (Franklin)

5. To affirm; to support or defend by argument. It is hard to maintain the truth, but much harder to be maintained by it. (South)

Synonym: to assert, vindicate, allege. See assert.

Origin: oe. Maintenen, f. Maintenir, properly, to hold by the hand; main hand (L. Manus) _ f. Tenir to hold (L.tenere). See manual, and Tenable.