The Origin of the Word "maintenance"

Oh boy, here I go mistyping the word “maintenance” again! For some reason, this is the most complicated English word for me in terms of spelling. It comes out as “maintanence”, or “maintenence”, or some other variant, but almost never the correct one. Even seemingly complicated to write words like “daughter” are no-brainer for me. But whenever I am done typing “maint”, I already know I am doomed for failure.

So I decided to look up who came up with this word and when. Just, you know, to thank this person for all the pain and suffering I have endured. Though, something tells me, that would be pretty hard without a time machine. And indeed, the origins of the word “maintenance” go as far as to the 12th century.

mid-14c., maintenaunce 1


from Old French maintenance “upkeep; shelter, protection”


from maintenir “to keep, sustain; persevere in”


c. 1300, maintenen, “to support, uphold, aid;” 2


from Anglo-French meintenir (Old French maintenir, 12c.) “persevere in, practice continually”


from Latin manu tenere “hold in the hand,”︎︎


from manu, ablative of manus “hand” + tenere “to hold”

Now I know. I hope it helps me to finally remember how to spell it.


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