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[uhp-hohld] /ʌpˈhoʊld/
verb (used with object), upheld, upholding.
to support or defend, as against opposition or criticism:
He fought the duel to uphold his family's honor.
to keep up or keep from sinking; support:
Stout columns upheld the building's heavy roof. Her faith upheld her in that time of sadness.
to lift upward; raise:
The pilgrims upheld their eyes and thanked heaven for their safe journey.
  1. to upholster.
  2. to maintain in good condition; take care of.
Origin of uphold
First recorded in 1175-1225, uphold is from the Middle English word up holden. See up-, hold1
Related forms
upholder, noun
Synonym Study
1. See support. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for uphold
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wise counsels, like those which gave us the Constitution, prevailed to uphold it.

  • I will uphold the curve of her eyelashes, for it tickleth my very heart-root to think of her.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • It seemed as if they stood 'round me, ready to uphold me in what I was doin'.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • The only one who walked pretty soberly was the head-master, who had to uphold his dignity.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • He may be a Republican, and he must uphold with warmth and conviction Royalist theories.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
British Dictionary definitions for uphold


verb (transitive) -holds, -holding, -held
to maintain, affirm, or defend against opposition or challenge
to give moral support or inspiration to
(rare) to support physically
to lift up
Derived Forms
upholder, noun
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 uphold

early 13c., "support, sustain," from up + hold (v.). Cf. Old Frisian upholda, Middle Dutch ophouden, German aufhalten. Related: Upheld; upholding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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