maintenance /ˈmeɪnt(ə)nəns , -tɪn-/ ▸ noun [mass noun] 1 the process of preserving a condition or situation or the state of being preserved: crucial conditions for the maintenance of democratic government. ▪ the process of keeping something in good condition: car maintenance [as modifier] essential maintenance work. 2 the provision of financial support for a person's living expenses, or the support so provided: a chance of going to university with fees and maintenance paid. ▪ Brit. a husband's or wife's provision for their spouse after separation or divorce: a divorced man paying his ex-wife £2,500 a year maintenance. 3 Law the offence of aiding a party in a legal action without lawful cause. – ORIGIN Middle English (in the sense ‘aiding a party in a legal action without lawful cause’): from Old French, from maintenir (see maintain).