Etymology
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sustain (v.)
c. 1300, "give support to," from stem of Old French sostenir "hold up, bear; suffer, endure" (13c.), from Latin sustinere "hold up, hold upright; furnish with means of support; bear, undergo, endure," from assimilated form of sub "up from below" (see sub-) + tenere "to hold," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." Meaning "continue, keep up" (an action, etc.) is from early 14c. Sense of "endure without failing or yielding" is from c. 1400. Related: Sustained; sustaining.
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souteneur (n.)
"man who lives on the earnings of one or more prostitutes under his protection, pimp," 1906, French, literally "protector," from soutenir "to sustain" (see sustain).
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self-sustaining (adj.)

"supporting oneself or itself without extraneous help," 1650s, from self- + present participle of sustain (v.). Related: Self-sustained (1742).

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sustainable (adj.)
1610s, "bearable," from sustain + -able. Attested from 1845 in the sense "defensible;" from 1965 with the meaning "capable of being continued at a certain level." Sustainable growth is recorded from 1965. Related: Sustainably.
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sustenance (n.)
c. 1300, "means of living, subsistence, livelihood," from Old French sostenance "support, aid" (Modern French soutenance), from Late Latin sustinentia "endurance," from present participle stem of Latin sustinere (see sustain). Meaning "action of sustaining life by food" is from late 14c. Sense of "nourishment" is recorded from late 15c. Related: Sustenant.
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sustentation (n.)
late 14c., from Anglo-French, Old French sustentacion, sostentacion "sustaining of life," from Latin sustentationem (nominative sustentatio) "maintenance," noun of action from past participle stem of sustentare "hold upright, hold up; feed, nourish, support; hold out, endure, suffer," frequentative of sustinere (see sustain).
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*upo 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "under," also "up from under," hence "over."

It forms all or part of: above; assume; Aufklarung; eave; eavesdropper; hyphen; hypo-; hypochondria; hypocrisy; hypotenuse; hypothalamus; hypothesis; hypsi-; hypso-; opal; open; oft; often; resuscitate; somber; souffle; source; soutane; souvenir; sub-; subject; sublime; subpoena; substance; subterfuge; subtle; suburb; succeed; succinct; succor; succubus; succumb; sudden; suffer; sufficient; suffix; suffrage; suggestion; summon; supine; supple; supply; support; suppose; surge; suspect; suspend; sustain; up; up-; Upanishad; uproar; valet; varlet; vassal.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit upa "near, under, up to, on," Greek hypo "under," Latin sub "under, below," Gothic iup, Old Norse, Old English upp "up, upward," Hittite up-zi "rises."

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*ten- 
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to stretch," with derivatives meaning "something stretched, a string; thin."

It forms all or part of: abstain; abstention; abstinence; abstinent; atelectasis; attend; attenuate; attenuation; baritone; catatonia; catatonic; contain; contend; continue; detain; detente; detention; diatonic; distend; entertain; extend; extenuate; hypotenuse; hypotonia; intend; intone (v.1) "to sing, chant;" isotonic; lieutenant; locum-tenens; maintain; monotony; neoteny; obtain; ostensible; peritoneum; pertain; pertinacious; portend; pretend; rein; retain; retinue; sitar; subtend; sustain; tantra; telangiectasia; temple (n.1) "building for worship;" temple (n.2) "flattened area on either side of the forehead;" temporal; tenable; tenacious; tenacity; tenant; tend (v.1) "to incline, to move in a certain direction;" tendency; tender (adj.) "soft, easily injured;" tender (v.) "to offer formally;" tendon; tendril; tenement; tenesmus; tenet; tennis; tenon; tenor; tense (adj.) "stretched tight;" tensile; tension; tensor; tent (n.) "portable shelter;" tenterhooks; tenuous; tenure; tetanus; thin; tone; tonic.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit tantram "loom," tanoti "stretches, lasts," tanuh "thin," literally "stretched out;" Persian tar "string;" Lithuanian tankus "compact," i.e. "tightened;" Greek teinein "to stretch," tasis "a stretching, tension," tenos "sinew," tetanos "stiff, rigid," tonos "string," hence "sound, pitch;" Latin tenere "to hold, grasp, keep, have possession, maintain," tendere "to stretch," tenuis "thin, rare, fine;" Old Church Slavonic tento "cord;" Old English þynne "thin."
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stay (v.2)

"support, sustain," early 15c., from French estayer (Modern French étayer), originally in nautical use, "secure by stays," from estaie (see stay (n.1)). The nautical sense in English is from 1620s. Related: Stayed; staying.

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uphold (v.)
c. 1200, "support, sustain," from up (adv.) + hold (v.). Similar formation in Old Frisian upholda, Middle Dutch ophouden, German aufhalten. Meaning "maintain in good condition or repair" is from 1570s. Related: Upheld; upholding.
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