• WordNet 3.6
    • n mainstay the forestay that braces the mainmast
    • n mainstay 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"
    • n mainstay a prominent supporter "he is a pillar of the community"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Mainstay Main support; principal dependence. "The great mainstay of the Church."
    • Mainstay (Naut) The stay extending from the foot of the foremast to the maintop.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n mainstay The rope which secures the head of the mainmast of a vessel forward.
    • n mainstay Chief support; main dependence: as, their mainstay is fishing.
    • n mainstay plural All the stays which give support to the main lower mast, maintopmast, and maintopgallantmast.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Mainstay the rope which stretches forward from the top of the mainmast: chief support
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. maine or magne, great—L. magnus, great.


In literature:

We must maintain this as the mainstay and vital principle of Judaism.
"The Menorah Journal, Volume 1, 1915" by Various
In both her consummate art, or rather natural gift of the art of narrative, is the mainstay of the fabric her imagination has reared.
"Famous Women: George Sand" by Bertha Thomas
Some of these, when the storm broke, became the mainstay of the national force.
"The War in the Air; Vol. 1" by Walter Raleigh
That department, the pride of the city and its mainstay in days of danger, was wrecked.
"The Battle with the Slum" by Jacob A. Riis
Hence, driftwood is generally a poor mainstay unless there is plenty of it on the spot; but driftwood on the sea coast is good fuel.
"Scouting For Girls, Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts" by Girl Scouts
You may call the Cree half-breed the mainstay of all the northern fur trade.
"Young Alaskans in the Far North" by Emerson Hough
The fence most commonly seen on new farms, and that may fairly be termed the pioneer's mainstay, is a simple one of stakes.
"Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2)" by William Delisle Hay
The mainstay of the Hawaiian Islands has, for the last thirty-five years, been the sugar industry.
"The Hawaiian Islands" by The Department of Foreign Affairs
Ives is the mainstay among varieties in this region.
"Manual of American Grape-Growing" by U. P. Hedrick
Code, racked and embarrassed, looked around for his mother, but that mainstay was nowhere in sight.
"The Harbor of Doubt" by Frank Williams

In poetry:

Since she makes honour her mainstay,
Each, who with flattery doth blare,
Falls short of her likeness alway,
Being in truth an angel fair.
"Verses Written in Her Book of Hours - 4" by Mary Stuart
New chums to this golden land, never dream of failure,
Whilst you've got such useful things as these in fair Australia;
For stringy bark and green hide will never, never fail you,
Stringy bark and green hide is the mainstay of Australia.
"Stringy Bark and Green Hide" by Anonymous Oceania
The Tomahawk's a fearsome bird, we deem;
Though feathered tribes hold him in great esteem;
A bird of prey, he whizzes through the air,
And clutches his pale victim by the hair.
Gory and grewsome,--he is the mainstay
Of the historic novel of to-day.
"A Phenomenal Fauna" by Carolyn Wells

In news:

This event is a seasonal mainstay for tea enthusiasts from around the Hudson Valley, offering a glimpse of what tea time was like during the Victorian era.
Recently honored with an abundance of top travel awards, a luxury Scrub Island hotel quickly credits hard work and a commitment to excellence as the mainstay for its success.
A mainstay of the S.B.
The "Coach T" court at Lathrop High School recognizes the contributions to Fairbanks by Joe Tremarello, who has been a mainstay on the locals sports scene since his high school days in the 1950s.
Chizek, a WNIR mainstay for close to 40 years, died in June during a trip to Florida, apparently of a heart attack.
Nationals left-handed reliever Sean Burnett , a mainstay in the Nats bullpen, became a free agent this morning when he declined his half of a mutual option for the 2013 season.
Fried chicken, that mainstay of comfort food , is getting the star treatment.
Crocker , who played in college at Marshall, signed with the Bengals during the 2008 season and became a mainstay.
Repositionable wallpaper is a decorating mainstay, says Todd Imholte, president of Murals Your Way, whose website,, is the top online destination for wall murals worldwide.
SALT LAKE CITY — Prescription medications are necessary for many to manage symptoms of various diseases and conditions, but the drugs have also become a mainstay for individuals young and old who have developed a dependency on them.
Fans aren't the only ones reeling from the unexpected exits of Grey's Anatomy mainstays Chyler Leigh and Kim Raver: Costar Jesse Williams was just as shocked.
RIM is looking to take the tablet market by storm with the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook, the smartphone mainstay's answer to the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Newport mainstay offers delicious fajitas and unique ambiance.
One thing is for certain though — Papa Roach is a mainstay in the rock world.
The Washington, DC-based National Chicken Council forecasts that while production of this convenience store menu mainstay will drop by 1.7%, prices will be going up.

In science:

The idea of performing an auxiliary randomization of n is a mainstay of statistical mechanics, known as the grand canonical ensemble.
Random matrix theory over finite fields: a survey
With minor variations, the entity-relationship model has become the mainstay of data processing applications for business and administration.
Towards an Intelligent Database System Founded on the SP Theory of Computing and Cognition
The hierarchical model is the mainstay of hierarchical file systems and finds niche applications in directories of various kinds.
Towards an Intelligent Database System Founded on the SP Theory of Computing and Cognition
Random subspace techniques have been a mainstay of the “local theory of Banac h spaces” ever since Milman gave a proof of Dvoretsky’s Theorem using concentration of measure ideas.
Entanglement in Random Subspaces
This causes stochastic dependencies that seem to render the differential equation method, the mainstay of the previous analyses of random k -SAT algorithms, useless.
Analyzing Walksat on random formulas