This is a quotation from a text about the Internet:

The Internet represents one of the most successful examples of the benefits of sustained investment and commitment to research and development of information infrastructure.

What does "sustained investment" mean in current context?

1 Answer 1


Sustained is being used in its sense of "prolonged" or "maintained for a long time without a break". "Sustain" comes from Latin teneō, meaning "I hold", plus the prefix sub meaning "underneath" or "pushing up from below"—in other words, "I hold (something) up." In English, the word still conveys a feeling of expending effort or energy to keep something going. For example, to "sustain" a musical note means to hold it for a long duration.

So, in your example sentence, sustained investment means continued investment for many years. "Sustained" is a nicer word choice than "continued", though, because of that suggestion of deliberate effort in addition to continuing without a break for a long time.

By the way, this illustrates why the etymology in a dictionary definition is often worthwhile to read. It often sheds light on the "core" meaning of a word, which has spread into a few related or specialized meanings over the centuries.

  • 3
    Sorry if this should be written elsewhere, but I hope that user 'Ben Kovitz' sees this. I just wanted to emphasise and thank you for including your afterwords on the bigger issues or pictures behind each question (such as your last para above and last two paras here). They (supernally) benefit towards helping us learn and see the 'grand design' ourselves! Once again, thank you!
    – user8712
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 19:58

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