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 upholder

Historical Examples of upholder

  • Is Plato an upholder of the conventional theory of language, which he acknowledges to be imperfect?

  • I thought she would be too much a upholder of the men to be the start of anythink like that.

  • In the next place he was an upholder of the Maccabean pontificate.

  • His political standpoint had been that of a Tory and an upholder of the monarchy.

    Tobias Smollett

    Oliphant Smeaton

  • I do not call the upholder of the developmental doctrine a believer of this kind.


    Robert Gordon Latham

British Dictionary definitions for upholder


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 upholder



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