Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] maintain pronunciation in British English /meɪnˈteɪn/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlemaintaining
past tensemaintained
past participlemaintained

Related dictionary definitions

  1. 1
    to make something stay the same

    Maintaining your current weight through exercise and healthy eating is important.

    It's sometimes hard to maintain the right balance between your work and your home life.

    maintain stability/continuity/the status quo:

    the problem of maintaining social stability in a period of great economic change

    1. a.
      to continue to communicate with someone and not allow a relationship to end
      maintain contact/relations/links:

      Though now in government, he has maintained close contact with his former colleagues in the oil industry.

    2. b.
      to make sure that something stays at the same level, rate, or standard

      Some schools experienced difficulty in maintaining staffing levels.

      Regular inspections ensure that high safety standards are maintained.

  2. 3
    to continue to say that something is true, even if other people do not believe you

    The missile system, Bush maintains, will protect the US against so-called rogue states.

    maintain (that):

    The company still maintains that the drug is safe.

    maintain your innocence:

    She maintained her innocence throughout the trial.


a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog