Origin of hold

before 900; Middle English holden, Old English h(e)aldan; cognate with Old Frisian, Old Norse halda, Old Saxon, Gothic haldan, Old High German haltan (German halten)

Related forms

hold·a·ble, adjective

Synonym study

8. See have. 9. See contain. 11. See maintain. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hold out (1 of 3)

hold out

verb (adverb)

noun holdout US

a person, country, organization, etc, that continues to resist or refuses to changeHonecker was one of the staunchest holdouts against reform
a person, country, organization, etc, that declines to cooperate or participatethey remain the only holdouts to signing the accord

British Dictionary definitions for hold out (2 of 3)


/ (həʊld) /

verb holds, holding or held (hɛld)


Derived Forms

holdable, adjective

Word Origin for hold

Old English healdan; related to Old Norse halla, Gothic haldan, German halten

British Dictionary definitions for hold out (3 of 3)


/ (həʊld) /


the space in a ship or aircraft for storing cargo

Word Origin for hold

C16: variant of hole
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

Idioms and Phrases with hold out (1 of 2)

hold out


Extend, stretch forth; also, present or offer something. For example, He held out his hand and she took it, or The new policy held out promise of major changes in the welfare program. These usages date from the first half of the 1500s and of the 1600s respectively.


Last, continue to be in supply or service, as in The food is holding out nicely. [Late 1500s] Also see hold up, def. 4.


Continue to resist, as in The garrison held out for another month. [Second half of 1700s]


Withhold cooperation, agreement, or information, as in We've asked for a better deal, but they've been holding out for months. It is also put as hold out on, as in They were still holding out on some of the provisions, or He's not telling us what happened; he's holding out on us.


hold out for. Insist on obtaining, as in The union is still holding out for a better contract. [c. 1900]

Idioms and Phrases with hold out (2 of 2)


In addition to the idioms beginning with hold

  • hold a candle to, not
  • hold against
  • hold a grudge
  • hold a gun to someone's head
  • hold all the aces
  • hold at bay
  • hold back
  • hold court
  • hold down
  • hold everything
  • hold forth
  • hold good
  • hold it
  • hold no brief for
  • hold off
  • hold on
  • hold one's breath
  • hold one's end up
  • hold one's fire
  • hold one's head high
  • hold one's horses
  • hold one's own
  • hold one's peace
  • hold one's temper
  • hold one's tongue
  • hold on to
  • hold on to your hat
  • hold out
  • hold out on
  • hold over
  • hold someone's feet to the fire
  • hold still for
  • hold sway over
  • hold the bag
  • hold the fort
  • hold the line
  • hold the phone
  • hold the purse strings
  • hold to
  • hold true
  • hold up
  • hold water
  • hold with
  • hold your

also see:

  • (hold) at bay
  • bear (hold) a grudge
  • get hold of
  • hang (hold) on to your hat
  • have a hold over
  • lay hold of
  • leave holding the bag
  • no holds barred
  • on hold
  • (hold the) purse strings
  • stand (hold) one's ground
  • take hold
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.