verb (used with object), up·held, up·hold·ing.

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 formsup·hold·er, noun

Synonym study

1. See support.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for uphold

Contemporary Examples of uphold

Historical Examples of uphold

  • Wise counsels, like those which gave us the Constitution, prevailed to uphold it.

  • I will uphold the curve of her eyelashes, for it tickleth my very heart-root to think of her.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • It seemed as if they stood 'round me, ready to uphold me in what I was doin'.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • The only one who walked pretty soberly was the head-master, who had to uphold his dignity.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • He may be a Republican, and he must uphold with warmth and conviction Royalist theories.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

British Dictionary definitions for uphold


verb -holds, -holding or -held (tr)

to maintain, affirm, or defend against opposition or challenge
to give moral support or inspiration to
rare to support physically
to lift up
Derived Formsupholder, 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

Word Origin and History for uphold

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