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[bih-hohld] /bɪˈhoʊld/
verb (used with object), beheld, beholding.
to observe; look at; see.
look; see:
And, behold, three sentries of the King did appear.
Origin of behold
before 900; Middle English beholden, Old English behaldan to keep. See be-, hold1
Related forms
beholdable, adjective
beholder, noun
unbeholdable, adjective
1. regard, gaze upon, view; watch; discern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for beholder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They present a most painful and humiliating spectacle to every beholder, whose feelings are not wholly callous to so sad a scene.

  • These are the tapestries that grip the heart, that cause a frisson of joy to the beholder.

    The Tapestry Book Helen Churchill Candee
  • The mouth is enclosed by an immense cage, intended to preserve the beholder from the vertiginous attractions of its depth.

    Old and New Paris, v. 2 Henry Sutherland Edwards
  • Dust, that is to say, was the first thing to strike the eye of the beholder.

    To Love Margaret Peterson
  • Her whole figure gave the beholder a sense of delicate and rather fragile beauty.

British Dictionary definitions for beholder


verb (often used in the imperative to draw attention to something, archaic or literary) -holds, -holding, -held
to look (at); observe
Derived Forms
beholder, noun
Word Origin
Old English bihealdan; related to Old High German bihaltan, Dutch behouden; see be-, hold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beholder

late 14c., agent noun from behold.



Old English bihaldan (West Saxon behealdan) "give regard to, hold in view," also "to keep hold of, to belong to," from be- + haldan, healdan (see hold). Related: Beheld; beholding. A common West Germanic compound, cf. Old Saxon bihaldan "hold, keep," Old Frisian bihalda, Old High German bihaltan, German behalten, but "[t]he application to watching, looking, is confined to English" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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