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See more synonyms for behold on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), be·held, be·hold·ing.
  1. to observe; look at; see.
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  1. look; see: And, behold, three sentries of the King did appear.
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Origin of behold

before 900; Middle English beholden, Old English behaldan to keep. See be-, hold1
Related formsbe·hold·a·ble, adjectivebe·hold·er, nounun·be·hold·a·ble, adjective


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1. regard, gaze upon, view; watch; discern.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for beholding

Historical Examples

  • It is a picture of horror, which I should have as little pleasure in drawing as you in beholding.

    Joseph Andrews Vol. 1

    Henry Fielding

  • And no thought of impurity came to him on beholding that lily, snowy whiteness.

  • In the meantime they are happy in their hopes, and for this also they are beholding to me.

    The Praise of Folly

    Desiderius Erasmus

  • And therefore for this reason it is that old age dotes; and that it does so, it is beholding to me.

    The Praise of Folly

    Desiderius Erasmus

  • Gilberte gave a little scream of delight on beholding Henriette.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for beholding


verb -holds, -holding or -held (often used in the imperative to draw attention to something) archaic, or literary
  1. to look (at); observe
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Derived Formsbeholder, 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

Word Origin and History for beholding



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].

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper