[ hohld ]
See synonyms for hold on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object),held; held or (Archaic) hold·en; hold·ing.
  1. to have or keep in the hand; keep fast; grasp: She held the purse in her right hand.He held the child's hand in his.

  2. to set aside; reserve or retain: to hold merchandise until called for;to hold a reservation.

  1. to bear, sustain, or support, as with the hands or arms, or by any other means.

  2. to keep in a specified state, relation, etc.: The preacher held them spellbound.

  3. to detain: The police held him at the station house.

  4. to engage in; preside over; carry on: to hold a meeting.

  5. to keep back from action; hinder; restrain: Fear held him from acting.

  6. to have the ownership or use of; keep as one's own; occupy: to hold political office.

  7. to contain or be capable of containing: This bottle holds a quart.

  8. to bind or make accountable to an obligation: We will hold you to your promise to pay back the money.

  9. to have or keep in the mind; think or believe: We hold this belief.

  10. to regard or consider: to hold a person responsible.

  11. to decide legally.

  12. to consider of a certain value; rate: We held her best of all the applicants.

  13. to keep forcibly, as against an adversary: Enemy forces held the hill.

  14. to point, aim, or direct: He held a gun on the prisoner.The firefighter held a hose on the blaze.

  15. Music. to sustain (a note, chord, or rest).

  16. to omit from the usual order or combination: Give me a burger well-done—hold the pickle.

verb (used without object),held; held or (Archaic) hold·en; hold·ing.
  1. to remain or continue in a specified state, relation, etc.: Hold still while I take your picture.

  2. to remain fast; adhere; cling: The buttonhole stitching is so frayed that the button no longer holds.

  1. to keep or maintain a grasp on something.

  2. to maintain one's position against opposition; continue in resistance.

  3. to agree or side (usually followed by with): to hold with new methods.

  4. to keep a telephone connection open; refrain from hanging up (often followed by on): The customer service rep asked me to hold while she checked my account balance.Hold on, I’ve got another incoming call.

  5. to hold property by some tenure; derive title (usually followed by by, from, in, or of).

  6. to remain attached, faithful, or steadfast (usually followed by to): to hold to one's purpose.

  7. to remain valid; be in force: The rule does not hold.

  8. to refrain or forbear (usually used imperatively).

  1. an act of holding fast by a grasp of the hand or by some other physical means; grasp; grip: Take hold.Do you have a hold on the rope?

  2. something to hold a thing by, as a handle; something to grasp, especially for support.

  1. something that holds fast or supports something else.

  2. an order reserving something: to put a hold on a library book.

  3. Finance. a security purchased or recommended for long-term growth.

  4. a controlling force or dominating influence: to have a hold on a person.

  5. Wrestling. a method of seizing an opponent and keeping him in control: a toe hold.

  6. Music. fermata.

  7. a pause or delay, as in a continuing series: a hold in the movements of a dance.

  8. a prison or prison cell.

  9. a receptacle for something: a basket used as a hold for letters.

  10. Rocketry. a halt in the prelaunch countdown, either planned or unexpectedly called, to allow correction of one or more faults in the rocket or missile.

  11. a fortified place; stronghold.

  12. (on telephones with two or more lines) a feature that enables a person to maintain a connection on one line while answering another line.

Verb Phrases
  1. hold back,

    • to restrain or check: Police held back the crowd.

    • to retain possession of; keep back: He held back ten dollars.

    • to refrain from revealing; withhold: to hold back information.

    • to refrain from participating or engaging in some activity: He held back from joining in the singing because he felt depressed.

    • Photography. dodge (def. 2).

  2. hold down,

    • to restrain; check: Hold down that noise!

    • to continue to hold and manage well: She held down that job for years.

  1. hold forth,

    • to extend or offer; propose.

    • to talk at great length; harangue: When we left, he was still holding forth on World War II.

  2. hold in,

    • to restrain; check; curb.

    • to contain oneself; exercise restraint: He was raging inside, but held himself in for fear of saying something he would regret.

  3. hold off,

    • to keep at a distance; resist; repel.

    • to postpone action; defer: If you hold off applying for a passport, you may not get one in time.

  4. hold on,

    • to keep a firm grip on.

    • to keep going; continue.

    • to maintain, as one's opinion or position.

    • to stop; halt (usually used imperatively): Hold on now! That isn't what I meant at all.

  5. hold out,

    • to present; offer.

    • to stretch forth; extend: Hold out your hand.

    • to continue to exist; last: Will the food hold out?

    • to refuse to yield or submit: The defenders held out for weeks.

    • to withhold something expected or due: He was suspected of holding out information important to the case.

  6. hold over,

    • to keep for future consideration or action; postpone.

    • to remain in possession or in office beyond the regular term.

    • to remain beyond the arranged period: The movie was held over for a week.

    • Music. to prolong (a tone) from one measure to the next.

  7. hold up,

    • to offer; give: She held up his father as an example to follow.

    • to present to notice; expose:to hold someone up to ridicule.

    • to hinder; delay: The plane's departure was held up because of the storm.

    • to stop by force in order to rob.

    • to support; uphold: to hold up farm prices.

    • to stop; halt: They held up at the gate.

    • to maintain one's position or condition; endure: They held up through all their troubles.

  8. hold with,

    • to be in agreement with; concur with: I don't hold with his pessimistic views.

    • to approve of; condone: They won't hold with such a travesty of justice.

Idioms about hold

  1. get hold of,

    • to get a hold on: Get hold of the railing.

    • to communicate with, especially by telephone: If she's not at home, try to get hold of her at the office.

  2. hold one's own. own (def. 11).

  1. hold one's peace. peace (def. 14).

  2. hold one's tongue. tongue (def. 33).

  3. hold water. water (def. 37).

  4. no holds barred, without limits, rules, or restraints.

  5. on hold,

    • in or into a state of temporary interruption or suspension: The project will be put on hold until funds become available.

    • Telecommunications. in or into a state of temporary interruption in a telephone connection: I'm putting you on hold to answer another call.: Compare call waiting.

Origin of hold

First recorded before 900; Middle English holden, halden Old English healdan, haldan; cognate with Old Frisian, Old Norse halda, Old Saxon, Gothic haldan, Old High German haltan, German halten

synonym study For hold

8. See have. 9. See contain. 11. See maintain.

Other words for hold

Other words from hold

  • hold·a·ble, adjective

Other definitions for hold (2 of 2)

[ hohld ]

  1. Nautical.

    • the entire cargo space in the hull of a vessel.

    • the cargo space in the hull of a vessel between the lowermost deck and the bottom.

    • any individual compartment of such cargo spaces, closed by bulkheads and having its own hatchway.

  2. Aviation. the cargo compartment of an aircraft.

Origin of hold

First recorded in 1450–1500; late Middle English; variant of hole; cognate with Dutch hol “hole, hold”

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hold in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hold (1 of 2)


/ (həʊld) /

verbholds, holding or held (hɛld)
  1. to have or keep (an object) with or within the hands, arms, etc; clasp

  2. (tr) to support or bear: to hold a drowning man's head above water

  1. to maintain or be maintained in a specified state or condition: to hold one's emotions in check; hold firm

  2. (tr) to set aside or reserve: they will hold our tickets until tomorrow

  3. (when intr, usually used in commands) to restrain or be restrained from motion, action, departure, etc: hold that man until the police come

  4. (intr) to remain fast or unbroken: that cable won't hold much longer

  5. (intr) (of the weather) to remain dry and bright: how long will the weather hold?

  6. (tr) to keep the attention of: her singing held the audience

  7. (tr) to engage in or carry on: to hold a meeting

  8. (tr) to have the ownership, possession, etc, of: he holds a law degree from London; who's holding the ace of spades?

  9. (tr) to have the use of or responsibility for: to hold the office of director

  10. (tr) to have the space or capacity for: the carton will hold only eight books

  11. (tr) to be able to control the outward effects of drinking beer, spirits, etc: he can hold his drink well

  12. (often foll by to or by) to remain or cause to remain committed to: hold him to his promise; he held by his views in spite of opposition

  13. (tr; takes a clause as object) to claim: he holds that the theory is incorrect

  14. (intr) to remain relevant, valid, or true: the old philosophies don't hold nowadays

  15. (tr) to keep in the mind: to hold affection for someone

  16. (tr) to regard or consider in a specified manner: I hold him very dear

  17. (tr) to guard or defend successfully: hold the fort against the attack

  18. (intr) to continue to go: hold on one's way

  19. (sometimes foll by on) music to sustain the sound of (a note) throughout its specified duration: to hold on a semibreve for its full value

  20. (tr) computing to retain (data) in a storage device after copying onto another storage device or onto another location in the same device: Compare clear (def. 49)

  21. (tr) to be in possession of illegal drugs

  22. hold for or hold good for to apply or be relevant to: the same rules hold for everyone

  23. holding thumbs Southern African holding the thumb of one hand with the other, in the hope of bringing good luck

  24. hold it!

    • stop! wait!

    • stay in the same position! as when being photographed

  25. hold one's head high to conduct oneself in a proud and confident manner

  26. hold one's own to maintain one's situation or position esp in spite of opposition or difficulty

  27. hold one's peace or hold one's tongue to keep silent

  28. hold water to prove credible, logical, or consistent

  29. there is no holding him he is so spirited or resolute that he cannot be restrained

  1. the act or method of holding fast or grasping, as with the hands

  2. something to hold onto, as for support or control

  1. an object or device that holds fast or grips something else so as to hold it fast

  2. controlling force or influence: she has a hold on him

  3. a short delay or pause

  4. a prison or a cell in a prison

  5. wrestling a way of seizing one's opponent: a wrist hold

  6. music a pause or fermata

    • a tenure or holding, esp of land

    • (in combination): leasehold; freehold; copyhold

  7. a container

  8. archaic a fortified place

  9. get hold of

    • to obtain

    • to come into contact with

  10. no holds barred all limitations removed

  11. on hold in a state of temporary postponement or delay

Origin of hold

Old English healdan; related to Old Norse halla, Gothic haldan, German halten
  • See also hold back, hold down, hold forth, hold in, hold off, hold on, hold out, hold over, hold together, hold-up, hold with

Derived forms of hold

  • holdable, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for hold (2 of 2)


/ (həʊld) /

  1. the space in a ship or aircraft for storing cargo

Origin of 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with hold


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.