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3 definitions found
 for mainstay
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Mainstay \Main"stay`\, n.
     1. (Naut.) The stay extending from the foot of the foremast
        to the maintop.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. Main support; principal dependence.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              The great mainstay of the Church.     --Buckle.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  mainstay
      n 1: a prominent supporter; "he is a pillar of the community"
           [syn: pillar, mainstay]
      2: a central cohesive source of support and stability; "faith is
         his anchor"; "the keystone of campaign reform was the ban on
         soft money"; "he is the linchpin of this firm" [syn:
         anchor, mainstay, keystone, backbone, linchpin,
         lynchpin]
      3: the forestay that braces the mainmast

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  124 Moby Thesaurus words for "mainstay":
     Maecenas, abettor, admirer, advocate, afford support, aficionado,
     alpenstock, angel, apologist, arm, athletic supporter, back,
     back up, backbone, backer, backing, bandeau, bear, bear up, bearer,
     bolster, bolster up, bra, brace, bracer, bracket, brassiere, buff,
     bulwark, buoy up, buttress, cane, carrier, carry, cervix, champion,
     corset, cradle, crook, crutch, cushion, defender, dependence,
     encourager, endorser, exponent, fan, favorer, foundation garment,
     friend at court, fulcrum, girdle, give support, guy, guywire, hold,
     hold up, jock, jockstrap, keep afloat, keep up, lend support,
     lover, main strength, maintain, maintainer, mast, neck, paranymph,
     partisan, patron, pillar, pillow, promoter, prop, protagonist,
     reinforce, reinforcement, reinforcer, reliance, rest,
     resting place, rigging, second, seconder, sectary, sheet anchor,
     shore, shore up, shoulder, shroud, sider, sinews, spine, sponsor,
     sprit, staff, stalwart, standby, standing rigging, stave, stay,
     stick, stiffener, strengthener, subsidize, subvention, support,
     supporter, sustain, sustainer, sympathizer, underbrace, undergird,
     underlie, underpin, underset, upbear, uphold, upholder, upkeep,
     votary, walking stick, well-wisher
  
  

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