Definition of mainstay in US English:



  • 1A person or thing on which something else is based or depends.

    ‘farming is the mainstay of the rural economy’
    • ‘Cement was one of his trading mainstays and he was a shareholder in the Portland Cement Works near Whangarei.’
    • ‘The mainstay of the helicopter fleet, the Oryx, was due for an in-service upgrade.’
    • ‘The staff are excellent, the mainstays being owner Juan and the smiling Joanna.’
    • ‘The inshore fisheries are the economic mainstay of these communities.’
    • ‘Since I have so much yew foliage, this is the mainstay of the ropes and swags that I will be creating.’
    • ‘He has been one of the mainstays of the Bradford team in recent years.’
    • ‘A mainstay of the Joe Torre dynasty, Pettitte needs to stay healthy and excel if he wants a new contract.’
    • ‘The gun run, loosely based on the exploits of Naval squads in the Boer War, was a mainstay of the Royal Tournament.’
    • ‘State-sponsored works remained the mainstay of many painters until the end of the Second Empire.’
    • ‘The first pick of Fox's second draft was Jordan Gross, who has become a mainstay at right tackle.’
    • ‘Smith was a mainstay of the club's success this season with his running from defence and solid tackling.’
    • ‘Farming and forestry are still the mainstay of this area although tourism is rapidly expanding.’
    • ‘International trade was the mainstay of Macau as a free port, and has been important until recently.’
    • ‘Visiting is a mainstay of social life, mostly within the circle of extended family.’
    • ‘After 37 years, the wreck has become something of a mainstay for divers in the area, but it is still excellent.’
    • ‘The organising and running of after-school groups has been one of the mainstays of the project.’
    • ‘Analyzed imagery and communications intelligence were the mainstays of this effort, to include the fused products.’
    • ‘The mainstay of Scotland's bowling attack has just become a father.’
    • ‘The plans were a mainstay of the amalgamation process and the beacon to guide sustainable development.’
    • ‘Farming, herding, fishing, seafaring, commerce, and crafts were the historical mainstays of the economy.’
    • ‘Ever since, Martin has been a mainstay on the Jets' offense, and in their locker room.’
    central component, centrepiece, prop, linchpin, cornerstone, pillar, bulwark, buttress, chief support, backbone, anchor, foundation, base, bastion
    tower of strength, key player, sinew, right-hand man, right-hand woman, right arm, atlas
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  • 2A stay that extends from the maintop to the foot of the foremast of a sailing ship.