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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 upholder
Historical Examples
  • Is Plato an upholder of the conventional theory of language, which he acknowledges to be imperfect?

    Cratylus Plato
  • I thought she would be too much a upholder of the men to be the start of anythink like that.

  • In the next place he was an upholder of the Maccabean pontificate.

  • His political standpoint had been that of a Tory and an upholder of the monarchy.

    Tobias Smollett Oliphant Smeaton
  • I do not call the upholder of the developmental doctrine a believer of this kind.

    Opuscula Robert Gordon Latham
  • He saw that France required an upholder of order and of property.

  • As an upholder of the law he becomes a formalist and a reactionary.

    The Man in Court

    Frederic DeWitt Wells
  • Three years later England had entered the field as an upholder of the Pragmatic Sanction.

    Rulers of India: Lord Clive

    George Bruce Malleson
  • He paused, and frowned, conscious that he was making little impression on the upholder of law and order.

    The Blue Germ Martin Swayne
  • Stewart was an upholder of Whig principles, when the Scottish government was in the hands of the staunchest Tories.

British Dictionary definitions for upholder


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 upholder



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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