c. 1300, maintenen, "to support, uphold, aid;" also "hold fast, keep in possession, preserve from capture or loss," from Anglo-French meintenir (Old French maintenir, 12c.) "keep (a wife), sustain; persevere in, practice continually," from Latin manu tenere "hold in the hand," from manu, ablative of manus "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand") + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch").
Sense of "hold in an existing state or condition, keep in existence or continuance" is from early 14c. Meaning "to carry on, keep up" is from mid-14c.; that of "to keep oneself, support" is from late 14c. Sense of "defend in speech, uphold by argument or assertion" is from mid-14c. Meaning "practice habitually" is from c. 1400. Sense of "furnish means for the subsistence or existence of" is from c. 1400. Related: Maintained; maintaining; maintains.
mid-14c., maintenaunce, "wrongful interference in others' lawsuits by a lord or his followers," from Old French maintenance "upkeep; shelter, protection," from maintenir "to keep, sustain; persevere in" (see maintain). Meaning "action of upholding or keeping in good order" is from early 15c. That of "action of providing a person with the necessities of life," also "financial provision or support, that which maintains or supports" is from late 14c.
It forms all or part of: amanuensis; command; commando; commend; countermand; demand; Edmund; emancipate; legerdemain; maintain; manacle; manage; manciple; mandamus; mandate; manege; maneuver; manicure; manifest; manipulation; manner; manque; mansuetude; manual; manubrium; manufacture; manumission; manumit; manure; manuscript; mastiff; Maundy Thursday; mortmain; Raymond; recommend; remand; Sigismund.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite maniiahh- "to distribute, entrust;" Greek mane "hand," Latin manus "hand, strength, power over; armed force; handwriting," mandare "to order, commit to one's charge," literally "to give into one's hand;" Old Norse mund "hand," Old English mund "hand, protection, guardian," German Vormund "guardian;" Old Irish muin "protection, patronage."
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."
"to fight for, defend, protect, maintain or support by contest," 1820 (Scott) in a literal sense, from champion (n.). Figurative use, "maintain the cause of, advocate for" is by 1830. Earlier it meant "to challenge" (c. 1600). Related: Championed; championing.
"lose the ability to maintain compensation," 1912, probably a back-formation from decompensation. Related: Decompensated; decompensating.