From Middle English withstanden, from Old English wiþstandan, equivalent to with- (against) +‎ stand. Compare Dutch weerstaan (to withstand, repel), German widerstehen (to withstand, resist, defy).


  • IPA(key): /wɪðˈstænd/, /wɪθˈstænd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ænd
  • Hyphenation: with‧stand


withstand (third-person singular simple present withstands, present participle withstanding, simple past and past participle withstood)

  1. (transitive) To resist or endure (something) successfully.
    • 1980, Robert M. Jones, editor, Walls and Ceilings, Time-Life Books, →ISBN, page 65:
      Tests showed that a tin ceiling could withstand a temperature of 1,369° for an hour and 10 minutes, whereas plaster collapsed in 12 minutes.
    • 2014 October 26, Jeff Howell, “Is the Japanese knotweed threat exaggerated? Our troubleshooter calls for calm about Japanese knotweed in the garden – and moss on the roof [print version: Don't panic about an overhyped invasion, 25 October 2014, p. P13]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Property)[1]:
      Some old, underfired clay pantiles might be damaged by button mosses rooting in cracks and fissures. But most post-war tiles are hard enough to withstand a bit of moss growth.
  2. To oppose (something) forcefully.

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