tr.v. sup·port·ed, sup·port·ing, sup·ports
a. To bear the weight of, especially from below; keep from falling, sinking, or slipping: Pillars support the roof.
b. To bear or hold up (an amount of weight): The bridge supports 10 tons.
a. To keep from weakening or failing; give confidence or comfort to: The letter supported him in his grief.
b. To keep from falling in value, as by government purchases: a program to support the price of wheat.
3. To provide for or maintain by supplying with money or necessities: The homeless shelter is supported solely by donations.
4. To furnish corroborating evidence for: New facts supported her story.
a. To aid the cause, policy, or interests of: supported her in her election campaign.
b. To argue in favor of; advocate: supported lower taxes.
c. To have an enthusiastic interest in (a sports team).
6. To endure; tolerate: "At supper there was such a conflux of company that I could scarcely support the tumult" (Samuel Johnson).
7. To act in a secondary or subordinate role to (a leading performer).
8. To offer help or advice regarding (a product or service).
9. Computers To be compatible with (a program): That operating system does not support most new applications.
a. The act of supporting: Our candidate needs your support.
b. The state of being supported: The candidate's support has been overwhelming.
2. One that supports: How many supports does the bridge have?
3. The provision of money or the necessities of life: child support.
4. Help or advice offered to those encountering difficulties with a product or service.
[Middle English supporten, from Old French supporter, from Latin supportāre, to carry : sub-, from below; see SUB- + portāre, to carry; see per-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: support, uphold, back1, advocate, champion
These verbs mean to give aid or encouragement to a person or cause. Support is the most general: "the policy of Cromwell, who supported the growing power of France against the declining power of Spain" (William E.H. Lecky).
To uphold is to maintain or affirm, often in the face of a challenge or strong opposition: "The Declaration of Right upheld the principle of hereditary monarchy" (Edmund Burke).
Back suggests material or moral support intended to contribute to or assure success: The important medical research was backed by the federal government. Advocate implies verbal support, often in the form of pleading or arguing: Scientists advocate a reduction in saturated fats in the human diet. To champion is to fight for one that is under attack or is unable to act in its own behalf: "[newspaper writers who] championed the government and defended the system of taxation" (Samuel Chew and Richard D. Altick).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.