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.
to set aside; reserve or retain: to hold merchandise until called for;to hold a reservation.
to bear, sustain, or support, as with the hands or arms, or by any other means.
to keep in a specified state, relation, etc.: The preacher held them spellbound.
to detain: The police held him at the station house.
to engage in; preside over; carry on: to hold a meeting.
to have the ownership or use of; keep as one's own; occupy: to hold political office.
to contain or be capable of containing: This bottle holds a quart.
to bind or make accountable to an obligation: We will hold you to your promise to pay back the money.
to have or keep in the mind; think or believe: We hold this belief.
to regard or consider: to hold a person responsible.
to decide legally.
to consider of a certain value; rate: We held her best of all the applicants.
to keep forcibly, as against an adversary: Enemy forces held the hill.
to point, aim, or direct: He held a gun on the prisoner.The firefighter held a hose on the blaze.
Music. to sustain (a note, chord, or rest).
to omit from the usual order or combination: Give me a burger well-done—hold the pickle.
to remain or continue in a specified state, relation, etc.: Hold still while I take your picture.
to keep or maintain a grasp on something.
to maintain one's position against opposition; continue in resistance.
to agree or side (usually followed by with): to hold with new methods.
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.
to hold property by some tenure; derive title (usually followed by by, from, in, or of).
to remain attached, faithful, or steadfast (usually followed by to): to hold to one's purpose.
to remain valid; be in force: The rule does not hold.
to refrain or forbear (usually used imperatively).
something to hold a thing by, as a handle; something to grasp, especially for support.
something that holds fast or supports something else.
an order reserving something: to put a hold on a library book.
Finance. a security purchased or recommended for long-term growth.
a controlling force or dominating influence: to have a hold on a person.
Wrestling. a method of seizing an opponent and keeping him in control: a toe hold.
a pause or delay, as in a continuing series: a hold in the movements of a dance.
a prison or prison cell.
a receptacle for something: a basket used as a hold for letters.
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.
a fortified place; stronghold.
(on telephones with two or more lines) a feature that enables a person to maintain a connection on one line while answering another line.
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).
to restrain; check: Hold down that noise!
to continue to hold and manage well: She held down that job for years.
to extend or offer; propose.
to talk at great length; harangue: When we left, he was still holding forth on World War II.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
hold one's own. own (def. 11).
hold one's peace. peace (def. 14).
hold one's tongue. tongue (def. 33).
hold water. water (def. 37).
no holds barred, without limits, rules, or restraints.
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.
- hold·a·ble, adjective
Other definitions for hold (2 of 2)
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.
Aviation. the cargo compartment of an aircraft.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use hold in a sentence
The second lesson is that no one writing before the twentieth century holds a key to our problems.
Eventually, Weirich had to kick out her jacuzzi and plants from her sunroom, where she now holds court.
Whatever the future holds for Africa, optimism certainly abounds.
Israel commonly holds people suspected of threatening national security for long periods without access to legal counsel.The Strange Case of the Christian Zionist Terrorist | Creede Newton | December 14, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
He holds them on his belly and looks at them with a magnifying glass, studying possible escape routes.Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days | David Freeman | December 13, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The player to his right holds eight, the player to his left has only six—the right side wins, the left side loses.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3) | Charles James Wills
His nature was bold and fitted to command, and to him is due, in a large degree, the proud position the Midland holds to-day.Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland | Joseph Tatlow
He holds them with the air of a gentleman, comfortable and at ease in all respects, mentally and bodily.
We have worked this out for all classes of tone—string, flute and diapason—and the law holds good in every instance.The Recent Revolution in Organ Building | George Laing Miller
Dey's squar little towels what you holds in yer lap to wipe yer fingers on when you've done eatin'.The Cromptons | Mary J. Holmes
British Dictionary definitions for hold (1 of 2)
to have or keep (an object) with or within the hands, arms, etc; clasp
(tr) to support or bear: to hold a drowning man's head above water
to maintain or be maintained in a specified state or condition: to hold one's emotions in check; hold firm
(tr) to set aside or reserve: they will hold our tickets until tomorrow
(when intr, usually used in commands) to restrain or be restrained from motion, action, departure, etc: hold that man until the police come
(intr) to remain fast or unbroken: that cable won't hold much longer
(intr) (of the weather) to remain dry and bright: how long will the weather hold?
(tr) to keep the attention of: her singing held the audience
(tr) to engage in or carry on: to hold a meeting
(tr) to have the ownership, possession, etc, of: he holds a law degree from London; who's holding the ace of spades?
(tr) to have the use of or responsibility for: to hold the office of director
(tr) to have the space or capacity for: the carton will hold only eight books
(tr) to be able to control the outward effects of drinking beer, spirits, etc: he can hold his drink well
(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
(tr; takes a clause as object) to claim: he holds that the theory is incorrect
(intr) to remain relevant, valid, or true: the old philosophies don't hold nowadays
(tr) to keep in the mind: to hold affection for someone
(tr) to regard or consider in a specified manner: I hold him very dear
(tr) to guard or defend successfully: hold the fort against the attack
(intr) to continue to go: hold on one's way
(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
(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)
(tr) to be in possession of illegal drugs
hold for or hold good for to apply or be relevant to: the same rules hold for everyone
holding thumbs Southern African holding the thumb of one hand with the other, in the hope of bringing good luck
stay in the same position! as when being photographed
hold one's head high to conduct oneself in a proud and confident manner
hold one's own to maintain one's situation or position esp in spite of opposition or difficulty
hold one's peace or hold one's tongue to keep silent
hold water to prove credible, logical, or consistent
there is no holding him he is so spirited or resolute that he cannot be restrained
the act or method of holding fast or grasping, as with the hands
something to hold onto, as for support or control
an object or device that holds fast or grips something else so as to hold it fast
controlling force or influence: she has a hold on him
a short delay or pause
a prison or a cell in a prison
wrestling a way of seizing one's opponent: a wrist hold
music a pause or fermata
a tenure or holding, esp of land
(in combination): leasehold; freehold; copyhold
archaic a fortified place
get hold of
to come into contact with
no holds barred all limitations removed
on hold in a state of temporary postponement or delay
- See also hold back, hold down, hold forth, hold in, hold off, hold on, hold out, hold over, hold together, hold-up, hold with
- holdable, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for hold (2 of 2)
the space in a ship or aircraft for storing cargo
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
- (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.