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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for beholder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Eastern end of the Cathedral does not impress the beholder.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • He is a beholder of ideas and an utterer of the necessary and causal.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The metamorphosis excites in the beholder an emotion of joy.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Any beholder would imagine that she was alive, and not dead.

  • It gave him a roguish—almost boyish—effect most appealing to the beholder.

    Gigolo Edna Ferber
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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