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[meyn-stey] /ˈmeɪnˌsteɪ/

Nautical. the that secures the mainmast forward.
a person or thing that acts as a chief support or part:
Coffee is the mainstay of the country’s economy.
(nautical) the forestay that braces the mainmast
a chief support

“chief support,” 1787, figurative use of a nautical noun meaning “stay which extends from the main-top to the foot of the foremast” (late 15c.), from main (adj.) + stay (n.).


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