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Definition of mainstay:

  1. Main support; principal dependence.
  2. The stay extending from the foot of the foremast to the maintop.

Synonyms:

guts, backbone, back, keystone, key, vertebral column, gumption, column, tower, anchorman, spinal column, moxie, sand, anchorperson, pillar, linchpin, spine, lynchpin, rachis, ground tackle, grit, anchor, headstone.

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