Main definitions of hold in English

: hold1hold2



  • 1with object Grasp, carry, or support with one's arms or hands.

    ‘she was holding a brown leather suitcase’
    no object ‘he held on to the back of a chair’
    • ‘Two of them were holding her by the arms while another said she didn't have to say anything.’
    • ‘The men held tightly onto my arms, I tried to struggle.’
    • ‘He was holding on so tight I was sure I'd have a bruise on my arm soon.’
    • ‘It was the first time he was able to hold his new baby son Joshua.’
    • ‘When he had to enter the lift the next day, he held on tight to his mother's hand.’
    • ‘His head's still swimming so he holds on tight to her waist so he doesn't fall.’
    • ‘A small group of supporters gathered outside the hospital holding bouquets of flowers.’
    • ‘She stopped a Japanese guy who was holding a cup of coffee and didn't seem in as much of a rush as the rest of the people there.’
    • ‘As he walked towards Pierre a man came from the back holding a huge old leather-bound book.’
    • ‘They both gathered in the dining room, where Hilkin was standing, holding a large brown bag.’
    • ‘Ryan held his mother's hand as he watched her chest rise and fall.’
    • ‘In the afternoon a banner proclaiming his victory is unrolled and held by supporters.’
    • ‘She looked behind her to see Jeff holding one of the automatics.’
    • ‘Adrienne's eyes widen and she struggles not to spill the drink she is holding.’
    • ‘Elizabeth looked up to see an adorable girl of about seven holding a small blue ball.’
    • ‘Her knees were wobbling as she held onto the back of my chair for support.’
    • ‘He ran off with the bag down Anerley Road - but he missed Mrs Young's purse, which she was holding in her hand throughout the robbery.’
    • ‘An older man with white hair followed her, holding a black medical bag in his hand.’
    • ‘Alex tries to get out of his grasp but that just causes him to hold her even tighter.’
    • ‘Lexie, hold on to my hand, okay?’
    • ‘I grabbed her in a hug, wrapping my arms around her and holding on tight.’
    clasp, hold on to, clutch, grasp, grip, clench, cling to, have in one's hand
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    1. 1.1with object and adverbial Keep or sustain in a specified position.
      ‘I held the door open for him’
      • ‘The security men were holding back the crowd to let the shaken minister and the officials get into a waiting car.’
      • ‘As she passed our row, I noticed that her spectacles were held together by generous amounts of sticky tape.’
      • ‘Firefighters from Leigh, Hadleigh and Southend were held back by the intense heat and smoke as they tried to battle the blaze.’
      • ‘Women are held down by the expectations of society.’
      • ‘Before the advent of modern fastenings, clothes were held together with brooches, or with belts and straps like this one.’
      • ‘Smart cards can be programmed so building occupants simply hold a card up to the reader.’
      • ‘He sniffed haughtily, holding open the door for them and watching as they shuffled past.’
      • ‘When you walk, stay tall with your head and shoulders back; and hold your head up just slightly.’
      • ‘They looked over my shoulder, and when I turned round I saw a security guard holding this guy down by lying on top of him.’
      • ‘He held the rag over her noise and mouth until she slumped over in his arms.’
      • ‘To check proper adjustment hold the trigger back with the grip safety released and work the hammer back and forth.’
      • ‘But he put his arms around me in an embrace, then held me away to look at me.’
      • ‘A crowd of up to 200 protesters were held back by troops who used screens and riot shields to form a pathway for the terrified youngsters and their parents.’
      • ‘Weakly she attempted to hold herself upright by clutching at the rough bricks.’
      • ‘This often involves several members of staff holding the pupil down in a restrictive position.’
      • ‘I took a stick of red wax and held it over the fire of a burning candle until it was so hot that it dripped.’
      • ‘In flight, they hold their wings up in a slight ‘V’ position.’
      • ‘The official holds up each vote for the crowd to see, and is greeted with cheers or boos from the good natured crowd.’
      • ‘A woman claimed she felt herself being held down as she came round from an operation.’
      • ‘I wore a mid length suede skirt, a long oversized cardigan, some comfy shoes and my hair was held back with the aid of an Alice band.’
    2. 1.2 Embrace (someone)
      ‘Mark pulled her into his arms and held her close’
      • ‘After the second kiss they just stayed on the bench holding each other.’
      • ‘As he slowly slides his arms around me, holding me gently in an embrace, I once again start to panic.’
      • ‘I didn't say a word as I rushed into the house and threw my arms around his neck, holding him close and kissing his lips.’
      • ‘Young mothers who were pale with fear and shock held their children as close as they could to protect them.’
      • ‘She started to cry, and Dad picked her up, holding her close.’
      • ‘Ray put his arms around me and held me close to him, so I rested my head against his shoulder.’
      • ‘I didn't resist as he put his arms around my shoulders and held me close to his body.’
      • ‘When we came up his arms were around me and he was holding me close against his chest.’
      • ‘I wanted to hold him close to me and whisper in his ear that he'd be fine.’
      • ‘He cracked a sleepy smile and leant forwards, enveloping me in his arms and holding me tightly.’
      • ‘He wrapped his arms around me again and held me close to him, kissing me passionately.’
      • ‘He put his arms around me and held me close; I had never felt so safe in all of my life.’
      • ‘His arms tightened around me, holding me even closer, if that was possible.’
      • ‘Leaping up from the ground, she threw her arms around him and held him tight.’
      • ‘Instinctively I pulled Danny into my arms and held him close.’
      • ‘Watching her, I wanted to take her up in my arms, squeeze her, hold her so close the way I used to.’
      • ‘Sam was holding her close, supporting her easily as he gazed down at her, a soft expression on his face.’
      • ‘Once he was gone Silvia broke down fully in a fit of tears, still holding her son close and rocking him slowly in her arms.’
      • ‘I put my arms around her and pulled her closer to me, holding her tightly.’
      • ‘Couples embraced, mothers held their children close, men nodded to each other.’
      embrace, hug, clasp, cradle, fold, enfold, envelop, squeeze, hold tight, hold in one's arms
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    3. 1.3 Be able to bear (the weight of a person or thing)
      ‘I reached up to the nearest branch which seemed likely to hold my weight’
      • ‘Several pieces of wood joined together can hold more weight than just a piece of wood.’
      • ‘The lock has a heavy-duty level strength rating, meaning it holds more weight.’
      • ‘Makala leaned on him and let him hold most of her weight as he led her upstairs to his apartment.’
      • ‘She toke a deep breath and licked her lips before she stood up again and as if by a miracle, her legs were able to hold her weight.’
      • ‘The railing wasn't meant to hold that much weight, so it collapsed backwards.’
      • ‘I picked a random room and walked in, not being able to hold Corbin's weight long enough to find his room.’
      • ‘The rope snapped at his wrists as it burned into him, holding all his weight.’
      • ‘Metal buildings are usually engineered to hold only the weight of the standing seam metal.’
      support, bear, carry, take, hold up, keep up, sustain, prop up, bolster up, shore up, buttress, brace
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 (of a vehicle) maintain close contact with (the road), especially when driven at speed.
      ‘the car holds the corners very well’
      • ‘The car holds the road very, very well at whatever speed I put it to, and I got her up to 110 to 115.’
      • ‘It was a good driving experience, though; it held the road well and the steering felt smooth.’
      • ‘I felt safe going around the corners because it held the road quite well.’
      • ‘Certainly the car holds the road well and steers nicely and positively, whether on rural rides or slamming it down the motorway.’
      • ‘Today's Signa and Vectra hold the road with an accuracy and tenacity alien to their ancestors, making them good fun to drive.’
      • ‘The Cooper S holds the road well and although the ride can be a little stiff at times, that's only to be expected with something this sporty.’
      • ‘As I've noted before, the Primera is extremely surefooted and I've now discovered that it holds the road well in ice and snow.’
    5. 1.5 (of a ship or an aircraft) continue to follow (a particular course)
      ‘the ship is holding a south-easterly course’
      • ‘The minister's mission is to hold a steady course until the next general election.’
      • ‘The night was still, with no breeze at all, yet the fully rigged ship continued to hold her course for land.’
      • ‘For the moment I held a steady course and kept a focus on the orientation instruments .’
    6. 1.6archaic no object, with adverbial of direction Keep going in a particular direction.
      ‘he held on his way, close behind his friend’
  • 2with object Keep or detain (someone)

    ‘the police were holding him on a murder charge’
    with object and complement ‘she was held prisoner for two days’
    • ‘I was held in a cell with 20 other prisoners with no room to manoeuvre.’
    • ‘Some of those detained are reportedly being held in solitary confinement.’
    • ‘Police said although the man was unharmed he was held hostage for between three and four hours.’
    • ‘The government changed the law at the beginning of last year to allow the police to hold people for 14 days rather than seven.’
    • ‘She was held first in a prison, then transferred to house arrest in September last year.’
    • ‘He was held in custody overnight, and was being questioned by police yesterday.’
    • ‘Military hearings are under way at the camp to ascertain whether detainees should continue to be held.’
    • ‘He held her prisoner for more than five hours while police surrounded her home.’
    • ‘A police officer was given a national police bravery award for tackling a gunman who was holding his children hostage.’
    • ‘Police say he held the woman at gunpoint for about an hour.’
    • ‘We were held in a police cell for a week, and some of us were suspended from our jobs.’
    • ‘But the son, who was riding in a separate car, was held hostage at the embassy in Bangkok.’
    • ‘A second man being held in custody was released without charge, Lancashire Police said.’
    • ‘Hundreds of political prisoners arrested in previous years continue to be held without trial.’
    • ‘In 1967 he was shot down and he was held as a prisoner-of-war in Hanoi for five-and-a-half years.’
    • ‘He was held in prison for over a year.’
    • ‘We pass under the Bridge of Sighs, which leads into the old prisons where Casanova was once held captive.’
    • ‘No explanation was given as to why the man was detained or the conditions under which he was held.’
    • ‘One of the men tried to hijack a car, but the woman driver managed to raise the alarm and the man was held until police arrived to arrest him.’
    • ‘He has been detained by immigration authorities, who can hold him for 48 hours while determining his status.’
    detain, hold in custody, imprison, lock up, shut up, put behind bars, put in prison, put in jail, incarcerate, keep under lock and key, confine, impound, immure, intern, constrain, keep under constraint
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    1. 2.1 Keep possession of (something), typically in the face of a challenge or attack.
      ‘the rebels held the town for many weeks’
      no object ‘White managed to hold on to his lead’
      • ‘Six-time defending champ Lance Armstrong held on to the overall lead, cruising to a safe finish in the fifth stage of the Tour de France.’
      • ‘He also holds the England goalscoring record, getting 49 goals in 106 games.’
      • ‘The citizens of Prague rose in revolt against the occupying German forces on 5 May 1945 and held the city until the Russian Army arrived four days later.’
      • ‘Commanders and their staff sometimes made lethal errors and engaged positions their own men held.’
      • ‘This may be the key to why Labour is likely to hold Shipley but lose Finchley to the Tories.’
      • ‘She achieved her best time for the marathon of 2hrs 55 mins in London nine years ago and still holds the Rochdale 20 course record.’
      • ‘Only the original rebel group which holds the northern half of Ivory Coast is, so far, in talks with the government.’
      • ‘The USA continues to defy the odds by holding on to their slender lead in their Chess Summit match against China.’
      • ‘The Federal Opposition Leader says her work in the community will ensure she holds on to the seat of Ballarat.’
      • ‘Doona struck the first of his two goals ten minutes into the first half, a lead which they held at the break.’
      • ‘St Kieran's Jim O'Donovan who played superbly in the second half, holds on to his place at midfield with Niall Moran the player to lose out.’
      • ‘Rebels hold the north and loyalist forces the south of what was considered a haven of peace and prosperity until a 1999 coup.’
      • ‘Thousands of others remain trapped in the northern hills held by the rebels.’
      • ‘Even if the party holds on to the government, the position of the president and his government would be weakened.’
      • ‘While the party suffered yet another crushing defeat, he was able to hold a safe Labor seat.’
    2. 2.2 Keep (someone's interest or attention).
      • ‘Attracting a crowd and holding its attention is something old media companies could do because they had a distribution stranglehold.’
      • ‘Sure, we noticed that the election campaign had begun, but it failed to hold our interest for long.’
      • ‘It's a strong, surprising show that holds everyone's interest and makes us forget the penetrating chill of the building.’
      • ‘Ailsa glanced at it again, then decided it wasn't interesting enough to hold her attention.’
      • ‘It was a highly entertaining and competitive match that held the attention of all to the very end.’
      • ‘There is enough diversity among the songs to hold one's interest but not so much fluctuation that the relaxed mood is disrupted.’
      • ‘The result is a flawed but intriguing film that succeeds in holding your attention with a number of fine set pieces and some gleefully relaxed performances.’
      • ‘She moved closer to the window to see what had been interesting enough to hold Amber's attention.’
      • ‘The spark had gone out of him and what he used to find amusing held no interest for him any longer.’
      • ‘Newspapers, magazines, television and computers all fight to attract and hold our attention.’
      • ‘Their curiosity is endless and finding something to do which is engrossing enough to hold their attention for a while is difficult.’
      • ‘She can transform the most boring plot into an interesting and informative story, which can hold the attention of any child.’
      • ‘The menu itself is interesting enough to hold's one attention for several minutes.’
      • ‘While not quite worthy of some of the hype it received last year, Monster's Ball is an interesting film that certainly holds your attention.’
      • ‘Adverts on the Internet must attract and hold attention, and quickly communicate a positive benefit for the brand.’
      • ‘You have an ability to concentrate and work intently on anything which holds your interest.’
      • ‘Nothing seems to really hold my interest long enough to make me pay enough attention to it.’
      • ‘Even the election isn't fully holding my interest, and Heaven knows if ever there was an interesting election, this one is it.’
      • ‘Reilly's story, one of loyalty, brotherhood, and dogged determination, captures and holds the reader's attention.’
      • ‘After that, though, there wasn't much to hold their interest, and they both sank into a doze.’
      maintain, keep, keep up, keep alive, occupy, engross, absorb, interest, captivate, fascinate, enthral, rivet, monopolize
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    3. 2.3 (of a singer or musician) sustain (a note).
      • ‘Unfortunately the singers having some trouble holding the notes and it seems to be sapping the energy they're all generating.’
      • ‘Unfortunately for us the singer can actually hold a note, thereby making all of his vocals entirely understandable.’
      • ‘The singer can't really hold a tune.’
      • ‘Now it's up to von Tetzchner to prove that, like any accomplished tenor, he can hold a note.’
      • ‘I sang, slowing the song right down and holding the note, knowing it would impress people.’
      • ‘A lone cello holds a plaintive note under acoustic strumming as Rouse intones in a delicate, flaky voice: ‘It's a great world.’’
      • ‘A trumpet appears at the end of the song, plucks a note from the air and holds it until I think something will burst.’
    4. 2.4 Stay or cause to stay at a certain value or level.
      no object ‘MCI shares held at 77p’
      with object ‘they are trying to hold public spending to £244.5 billion’
      • ‘Rather than cutting spending, it should be held at current levels to create stability in the system.’
      • ‘While holding the increase in overall spending to less than 4 percent, the budget proposes increases in several areas.’
      • ‘He said he expects to hold this higher level of spending through next year.’
      • ‘Cheeses age at different rates and must be held at constant temperatures to achieve their optimum flavour.’
      • ‘The unemployment rate held at 5.6 percent and more job-seekers left the work force.’
      • ‘The change has helped hold down inflation levels even as it promotes global growth.’
      • ‘It has been held at that level for the whole time this Government has been in office.’
      • ‘Markets outside the US such as Asia where exporters quote in dollars will also offer greater opportunities, if the dollar holds at current levels, he said.’
      • ‘The decision was widely expected by analysts and borrowing costs have now been held at their current levels since the start of June.’
      • ‘On Wall Street the major averages held steady throughout the day.’
    5. 2.5 (in sport) manage to achieve a draw against (opponents thought likely to win)
      ‘AC Milan were held to a 1–1 draw by Udinese’
      • ‘Blackburn Rovers gave themselves a terrific chance of reaching a second successive Worthington Cup final by holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last night.’
      • ‘Keighley Shamrocks also played out a goalless draw as they held Division One leaders Ardsley Celtic at home.’
      • ‘San Marino were beaten, Croatia were held, and Brown's escapology confounded his critics once more.’
      • ‘Three seasons ago in this cup Berwick held Hearts and went ahead in the replay in Edinburgh only to lose late on.’
      • ‘If Astle had scored England could have come home from Mexico having held the greatest team to have played the game to a draw.’
      • ‘Slovenia scored a priceless away goal and succeeded in holding Croatia to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their playoff.’
      • ‘And at the interval they were holding their more illustrious opponents as they went into the break level.’
      • ‘Few would have backed him to get a win over Liverpool, and many would have baulked at a belief they could hold high-flying Everton.’
      • ‘Uzbekistan weathered a storm of China's attacks, holding the host to a scoreless draw in the first half.’
      • ‘In Africa, Ivory Coast stayed on course for a World Cup debut after holding Libya to a 0-0 draw in Tripoli.’
  • 3no object Remain secure, intact, or in position without breaking or giving way.

    ‘the boat's anchor would not hold’
    • ‘We pray that it continues to hold, otherwise we face the risk of the train detaching itself and rocketing back down through the tunnel.’
    • ‘Authorities say that so far the timber dam is holding but it could send six feet of water rushing into downtown.’
    • ‘For some time now, no one has seriously believed those restraints would hold.’
    • ‘The arches supporting the weight above still held as strong as the day they were built.’
    • ‘The Oxford defence held firm throughout while James Forrest continually harassed the home defence.’
    • ‘Coastal defences had held well under the extreme conditions of recent days, the Environment Agency said.’
    • ‘Julia stared nervously at the thin cord as it shifted under Asha's weight, fearing the tiny anchor would not hold.’
    1. 3.1 (of a favourable condition or situation) continue without changing.
      ‘let's hope her luck holds’
      • ‘Croft watched the sky redden and hoped the weather would continue to hold.’
      • ‘I was the second to last person on board and my luck continued to hold with an empty seat beside mine so there was extra underseat space to stash my stuff.’
      • ‘According to the most recent reports, the ceasefire seems to be holding.’
      • ‘Peace has held for six years but political, economic and social life is still on its way to recovery.’
      • ‘On day three, the weather was continuing to hold, so they sailed about five miles west to the island of Boreray.’
      • ‘The ceasefire brokered in the aftermath of the attack is shaky but continues to hold.’
      • ‘The troops are still there, of course, and the peace is still holding.’
      • ‘The Tories are pinning their hopes on a May election and optimistically predict a hung parliament if today's poll findings continue to hold.’
      • ‘I hope my luck holds, but finding the coupon was a big enough boost anyway.’
      • ‘We expect the ceasefire to continue holding in order to enable this process to move forward at a quicker pace.’
      • ‘For now, however, the ceasefire holds with both sides of the political divide stating their continued commitment to the peace process.’
      • ‘So it is back to square one unless the Good Friday Agreement holds.’
      continue, carry on, go on, hold on, hold out, keep up, keep going, last, persist, endure, stay, remain, remain unchanged
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    2. 3.2 Be or remain valid or available.
      ‘I'll have that coffee now, if the offer still holds’
      • ‘The old argument that it was necessary to pay these CEOs high salaries in order to retain them no longer holds.’
      • ‘None of these conditions is likely to hold in the situations we studied.’
      • ‘What we want at this meeting is clarification about whether this agreement from 1993 still holds.’
      • ‘The same argument holds if some section of the population hold a disproportionate amount of wealth and power - you essentially get a de facto aristocracy.’
      • ‘Our offer still holds. If they want to have a debate and a vote on a constitutional amendment, we're prepared to accept that agreement.’
      • ‘It makes sense as a matter of economics only when several conditions hold.’
      • ‘But the context usually makes clear which is meant and this argument doesn't hold for all such words.’
      • ‘The association between frequency of heroin use and dependence appears to hold only for males.’
      • ‘Clearly some explanations hold in some situations and not in others, but one factor that all studies have found to be important is a history of conflict.’
      • ‘In fact, most of the systems in place in medicine were never formally designed, and this holds for the entire process of giving drugs.’
      remain available, remain valid, remain in force, hold good, stand, apply, remain, exist, operate, obtain, be the case, be in force, be in operation, be in effect
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    3. 3.3 (of an argument or theory) be logical, consistent, or convincing.
      ‘their views still seem to hold up extremely well’
      • ‘To me, it's not terribly important whether or not the theory holds up to scientific scrutiny.’
      • ‘The plot holds together well, featuring a number of laugh-out-loud moments, and some terribly amusing twists.’
      • ‘And if something travels faster than light Einstein's Theory doesn't hold.’
      • ‘Possibly she is so in love that she hasn't noticed that her boyfriend's story just doesn't hold together.’
      • ‘If your argument holds, why are you bothering to say anything here?’
      • ‘She shows that the upbeat view doesn't hold up in the face of a careful examination of the numbers.’
      • ‘Given the damning evidence that Secrest and Hyland present, this view no longer holds up.’
      • ‘This is the first theory I've heard that holds together on all levels.’
      be convincing, be logical, hold, hold water, bear examination, survive investigation, be verifiable, be provable
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    4. 3.4hold to Refuse to abandon or change (a principle or opinion)
      ‘those who held to the view that Britain should not be part of the Common Market’
      • ‘If MTV holds to this agenda I may be able to watch it again, maybe - some hopeful signs as we enter the new year.’
      • ‘But he has a better excuse for holding to this wrongheaded view than do his colleagues.’
      • ‘My younger sister holds to that tradition, but my older sister's boys are too old to be dragged anywhere by a women who is their mom.’
      • ‘It would appear from your report that he holds to his own personal standard of ‘I'll do what I like’.’
      • ‘Smith still holds to the view that to return to another Scottish club would be too difficult a proposition.’
      • ‘We do not hold to the view that judicial independence means a licence to behave without restraint.’
      • ‘Anglican arguments prevailed and the Catholics, while holding to their faith, abandoned political resistance.’
      • ‘‘The Government must ensure the EU holds to this line and does not concede any greater cuts,’ he said.’
      • ‘He has decided that attaining power is more important than holding to his principles.’
      • ‘Those who hold to the possibility of progress insist that they do because history supports it.’
      • ‘It still holds to its guideline of 1985 that the contemporary is necessary both in its own right and as a complement to the collection of traditional art.’
      • ‘Such is the case with scientists who hold to an evolutionary view of earth history.’
      • ‘The secular left holds to a hard-nosed set of moral absolutes.’
      • ‘He still holds to the view that progress and religion are inextricably linked in a positive sense.’
      • ‘The conservative generally has a strong belief in God and holds to traditional moral values.’
      • ‘In essence, the Committee holds to the view that once Canadians give up control over what amounts to our cultural sovereignty, we can never get it back.’
    5. 3.5hold someone towith object Cause someone to adhere to (a commitment)
      ‘the role of the media ought to be to hold politicians to their promises’
      • ‘In that case it will be up to the more idealistic among us to hold the president to his commitment.’
      • ‘I would have thought the unions' first interest should still be holding James Hardie to the spirit and structure of Friday's announcement.’
      • ‘Flood victims will want to hold them to that commitment.’
      • ‘The U.N. report is simply holding America to its own pledge.’
      • ‘You're not suddenly going to tell the world you have a claim on me, or try to hold me to some sort of commitment?’
      • ‘It did make a promise that everybody would have access to an NHS dentist and we need to hold them to that.’
      • ‘‘And what I hope people can do is to take this commitment now and hold us to it… it is something that we are fundamentally committed to,’ he said.’
      • ‘They must expect the electorate to hold them to what they have said.’
      • ‘I will ensure that any statements regarding funding for sewerage treatment works for Waterford made prior to the Election will be held to.’
      • ‘They've said they will involve the NGO sector, so let's hold them to that.’
      • ‘I believe that we should hold her to that commitment.’
      • ‘We'll hold you to that, we'll come back here a year from today, we'll take a look at these predictions.’
      • ‘The Labour Party manifesto said that it had no intention of restricting the sport of shooting and we will seek to hold them to that commitment.’
  • 4with object Contain or be capable of containing (a specified amount)

    ‘the tank held twenty-four gallons’
    • ‘Reservoirs could be designed to hold large amounts of water, and make it available during times of severe drought.’
    • ‘In a room that holds 3,000, there were people crammed into every available space.’
    • ‘The large function room holds up to 200 people and the big screen also features the latest sporting events.’
    • ‘DVDs are capable of holding 7 times the amount of space compared to your typical CD.’
    • ‘He pulled his gym bag from under his bed, thinking that it would be big enough to hold everything for the next two days.’
    • ‘If my car holds 20 gallons of gas and I put only 10 gallons in it, I can only go half as far.’
    • ‘The city has more than 15,000 rooms available and its largest meeting room holds 10,000 delegates.’
    • ‘Parking at the auction centre is free, and there is a car park fronting the road which holds 650 cars.’
    • ‘He was in a tiny office that could barely hold the three desks crammed inside.’
    • ‘These dams built on the rivers will be able to hold the entire amount of water during a weak monsoon.’
    • ‘The average cruise ship holds about 2,000 passengers.’
    • ‘Padraig is holding his own Golf Show in a specially constructed arena that will hold an audience of 1500.’
    • ‘He wanted to find out which glass would hold the most amount of milk.’
    • ‘We are talking about building a venue to hold 80,000 for a sport that is capable of filling it for one month this century.’
    • ‘Each container is able to hold a large amount of plastic garbage bags.’
    • ‘In the rescue call we were told the ship was holding 80 people plus.’
    • ‘Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan big enough to hold everything, including the pears.’
    • ‘My lungs feel like they have suddenly compressed and aren't big enough to hold an adequate amount of oxygen.’
    • ‘Available in 12 or 24V versions for small and larger commercial vehicle applications, it holds 4.5 litres of water.’
    • ‘The aircraft can hold more than 400, and the crew was worried they might not have a job when they got home.’
    • ‘Handwoven out of natural straw, the basket is large enough to hold everything for a daily outing.’
    have a capacity of, take, have room for, have space for, contain, comprise
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    1. 4.1 Be able to drink (a reasonable amount of alcohol) without becoming drunk or suffering any ill effects.
      ‘I can hold my drink as well as anyone’
      • ‘The judge said he thought it much more likely it was not being able to hold his drink which had triggered Hussain's actions and contributed to his loss of temper.’
      • ‘He really can't hold his drink well though, half a shandy and he started pouring his little heart out to me on the way back to the hotel.’
      • ‘Some men may not want to hear this, but scientists have found women are better at holding their drink.’
      • ‘Jake was famous for not being able to hold his drink.’
    2. 4.2 Have or be characterized by.
      ‘I don't know what the future holds’
      • ‘For fans of acoustic blues, the concert calendar hasn't held this much promise in years.’
      • ‘This idea that freedom holds as much in the way of unhappiness as totalitarianism harks back to the existential writers who influenced Brink when he studied at the Sorbonne in the 1950s.’
      • ‘But for Pauline every working day holds fears of another attack, after armed robbers targeted the business for the fourth time in seven months.’
      • ‘Of course, like anything in the future, this holds terrifying possibilities.’
      • ‘The future of nursing holds a myriad of challenges.’
      • ‘When all you could remember was captivity, freedom didn't hold that much appeal.’
      • ‘While this ‘brave new world’ represents great challenges, it also holds the promise of great rewards.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, this biography of Theodore Swann holds something of interest for everyone.’
      • ‘What lessons do you think this holds for modern day musicians who have easy access to far superior equipment?’
      • ‘I personally am looking forward to staying there as it holds a very special place in my heart.’
      • ‘This theory holds even more truth today because with the amount of mixed and confusing messages regarding health and fitness, most consumers are confused.’
      • ‘Whatever the future holds this has certainly opened the eyes of governments around the globe.’
      • ‘Readers will spend more time with what is important to them and less time with information that holds little or no value for them.’
      • ‘Language thus holds the key to challenging and changing male hegemony.’
      • ‘They know the extreme importance exchange rate stability holds for future inflationary movements.’
      • ‘Once more the computer was produced to show me what the future held, based on a range of percentage growth projections.’
      • ‘We live in interesting times, which hold some of the greatest challenges the human race as a whole will have ever faced.’
      • ‘A verbal agreement can hold more weight than, or even entirely supercede, a written one.’
      • ‘It is the present and the future which hold much more interest.’
      • ‘Towards the end of the book he looks at what the future holds, based on programmes that have been funded and are about to start.’
  • 5with object Have in one's possession.

    ‘the managing director still holds fifty shares in the company’
    • ‘The defendants have paid settlement funds to Mr. Mann and they continue to be held in trust.’
    • ‘Each director shall hold one voting share in the company.’
    • ‘The CVA needs to win support from creditors holding at least 75 per cent of the total debt when it is voted upon.’
    • ‘The shares must be held for five years in order to avoid any withdrawal of the tax relief granted.’
    • ‘Personally, I like the idea of holding a few expensive shares within a balanced portfolio.’
    • ‘Baker holds a significant financial interest in the company.’
    • ‘It should enable each citizen to see the contact data that government holds on him or her, and to know which public sector organisations have access to their contact data.’
    • ‘Riders charged with driving offences can be fined and receive points on their driving licence even if they are not old enough to hold one.’
    • ‘He holds Bank of Ireland shares worth almost €4m.’
    • ‘Millions of former Abbey shareholders now hold Banco Santander shares.’
    • ‘She holds a B.A. in music education from Greenville College and an M.A. in religion from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.’
    • ‘Glaxo holds the largest share of the worldwide pharmaceuticals market.’
    • ‘We were shown a written statement from one ex - member who remains terrified by the information the Church holds on him.’
    • ‘The Metcalfe Society, founded 25 years ago, claims to be the biggest one-name organisation in the world in terms of the data it holds on descendants and with 1,500 past and present members.’
    • ‘Fuel costs have added to concerns, but there are indications that the worst may be over for investors holding Ryanair shares.’
    • ‘An increased cash bid may win the support of KPN, the Dutch telco that holds a 21% stake in Eircom.’
    • ‘He of course holds an All Ireland winner's medal from 1978.’
    • ‘However, these are high-risk trusts and the shares must be held for five years.’
    • ‘They will probably emerge holding a far greater share of the market, with two or three undisputed leaders in most sectors.’
    • ‘Huawei has been gradually accumulating its stake in Sunday since last year and now holds a 7.11 per cent interest.’
    possess, have, own, bear, carry, be the owner of, have in one's possession, be in possession of, have to one's name
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1North American informal no object Be in possession of illegal drugs.
      ‘he was holding, and the police hauled him off to jail’
    2. 5.2 Have or occupy (a job or position)
      ‘she held office from 1985 to 90’
      • ‘If nothing else, it's past time for a Hispanic to hold such a high office of state.’
      • ‘It serves Pryor well because it gives him a shot at a lifetime appointment to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a position he already holds on a temporary basis.’
      • ‘She held that position for more than 20 years, during which time she served on a number of public bodies.’
      • ‘In 1965 she became a judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the first woman in Australia to hold such a position.’
      • ‘As Professor he received 40 per year and was not allowed to hold any other positions inside the College or University.’
      • ‘Both of her parents were mayors of Sligo - her mother was the first woman ever to hold that position.’
      • ‘He took office under Bonar Law in 1922 as secretary of state for air and held the same office under Baldwin.’
      • ‘Upon returning to Thailand, he then began his long political career, holding numerous positions over the years.’
      • ‘Women commonly hold both an office or factory job and the job of managing the household.’
      • ‘And of course there is nothing to stop conductors holding two such appointments simultaneously.’
      • ‘He died of a heart attack, having held office for only one year and five months.’
      • ‘It is a scandal that he is allowed to hold such a powerful position in the Republican Party.’
      • ‘For someone who holds such a powerful position in the NHS, it's striking that he's no older than the average hospital registrar.’
      • ‘By 1543 he had been appointed a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, a position he held for the rest of his life.’
      • ‘Although ranked below the chief and chairman, a secretary holds a highly respected position.’
      • ‘The nobility held the highest positions in the Church, the army and the government.’
      • ‘His younger brother, Alfred, would hold this same office five years later.’
      • ‘She's vying to become the first person from Saudi Arabia to hold elected office in this country.’
      • ‘Johnson held various temporary positions around Cambridge for the next 19 years.’
      • ‘Lady Thatcher launched a stinging attack on Mr Clarke, who held a string of Cabinet posts in her governments.’
      occupy, have, be in, fill
      View synonyms
    3. 5.3with object Have (a belief or opinion)
      ‘I feel nothing but pity for someone who holds such chauvinistic views’
      with clause ‘they hold that all literature is empty of meaning’
      • ‘Ceasing to express a political opinion doesn't mean you stop holding it.’
      • ‘It is a subject on which Evangelicals hold differing opinions.’
      • ‘Lavoisier's belief reveals that he still held a somewhat traditional view of elements.’
      • ‘What we get from him is an attack on anyone who holds views that are different to his.’
      • ‘The values we hold have made us good neighbors for centuries, and they will keep us as strong allies and good friends for the centuries to come.’
      • ‘It's a view the parish council holds to this day - and one with which the Highways Agency agreed.’
      • ‘Further along still there is a no-compromise position which holds that in every sphere of business activity, human rights are binding and should be observed.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, all too many parents and coaches hold the same view about youth soccer.’
      • ‘I also hold that the conditions under which animals are kept and hunted are morally wrong.’
      • ‘The findings of the survey challenge the belief held by many teachers that parents are behind a child's bad behaviour.’
      • ‘One theory holds that depressed mothers are less able to plan activities for their children; another that they have a hard time interacting with their kids.’
      • ‘But I also hold the very strong view that republicans need to lead by example.’
      • ‘It is just that their school places an emphasis on what it holds to be important subjects, hires good teachers and instils the necessary ambition in pupils.’
      • ‘His analysis holds that nurses have the greatest knowledge and least authority when it comes to patient care.’
      • ‘That theory holds that the universe was created 10 to 20 billion years ago when a cosmic explosion hurled matter in all directions.’
      • ‘My observations are that unethical, immoral college students tend to hold those same personal values for most of their lives.’
      • ‘You may or may not hold these as values, but that is beside the point.’
      • ‘Only 24 hours later, few within the party itself could pretend to hold such an optimistic opinion on the future of their leader.’
      • ‘I did not believe in God, in Jesus, in any doctrine the church holds to be true.’
      believe, think, consider, take the view, feel, maintain, swear, deem, be of the opinion, subscribe to the opinion
      View synonyms
    4. 5.4with object and complement Consider (someone) to be responsible or liable for a particular situation.
      ‘you can't hold yourself responsible for what happened’
      • ‘Directors will be held accountable for what they know and what they should know.’
      • ‘The trial judge held the defendants liable for failing to close down that part of the factory.’
      • ‘At campuses across the country he inspired young people to form their own public citizen's groups holding corporate America to account.’
      • ‘Canadian law recognizes exceptional situations where an officer or director can be held liable.’
      • ‘Nor can he be held entirely responsible for the inadequacy of the flood defences, despite a specific warning well in advance.’
      • ‘In some countries the law states that if underage youngsters break the law the parents are held responsible too.’
      • ‘At the most recent inquiry, however, it seems that a jury decided that the policemen should be held accountable.’
      • ‘He holds the lawyer responsible for the death of his sister.’
      • ‘It's time to hold our elected officials responsible for what's happening in our hospitals.’
      • ‘If he is a fraudster, then those who supported him must be held accountable for doing so.’
      • ‘The courts are increasingly holding employers responsible for maintaining a safe workplace.’
      • ‘I say to the Minister that we on this side of the House will hold him responsible for any loss of life.’
      • ‘All we are doing is holding the Minister of Police to account for the answer he gave in this House yesterday.’
      • ‘Such people seem to be holding me responsible for the actions of others.’
      • ‘They did not hold their doctors responsible for what they perceived to be a consequence of the scarcity of resources in the NHS.’
      • ‘Mr Maharey does not want to be held to account for what was said.’
      • ‘Must courts hold mothers accountable when they make false statements regarding paternity?’
      • ‘I did not intend or foresee these consequences and it would seem extremely unfair to hold me responsible for them.’
      • ‘Now, they hold him responsible for planning to destabilise the country.’
      • ‘The law does hold people responsible for failing to act if they are under a legal obligation to do so.’
    5. 5.5hold someone/something in Regard someone or something with (a specified feeling)
      ‘the speed limit is held in contempt by many drivers’
      • ‘Such societies are held in relatively low regard by the college authorities.’
      • ‘Even though he held business in contempt - as would any right-thinking, left-leaning humanities professor - the marketplace intrigued him.’
      • ‘She was a friendly and caring lady and was held in very high esteem.’
      • ‘Frederick William inherited a state where the previous ruler had been held in very low regard by the real power base in Brandenburg-Prussia - the Junkers.’
      • ‘The Russian nobility remained aloof from the business élite, and was held in contempt by the intelligentsia.’
      • ‘This 30-track anthology explains just why so many of his contemporaries hold Reilly in such regard.’
      • ‘I find it interesting that throughout the world church culture holds Christian musicians in high regard.’
      • ‘From the players I've spoken to it's fair to say all those who work with him hold Corrigan in high regard.’
      • ‘He was widely held in high esteem for his witty sense of humour.’
      • ‘She said the presence of such a large international fleet was a mark of the high esteem in which Nelson continued to be held.’
      • ‘McLellan holds his predecessor in high regard and acknowledges Fairweather raised the profile and importance of the office.’
      • ‘His fingers leap between frets as the memories flood back and you realise just why people hold this man's musicianship in such high regard.’
      • ‘All the episode proved was that he did not hold managers in high regard.’
      • ‘The political system, riddled with corruption, is held in increasing public contempt.’
      • ‘As an MSP, he is held in great affection by the people of North Tayside.’
      • ‘So why is it that journalists are held in even lower regard by the general public than politicians?’
      • ‘I know that police officers are held, in the main, in very high esteem by society because society depends on them.’
      • ‘Kathleen, Madeline and Kate are held in very high regard by the Irish-American community in New York.’
      • ‘Voters held O'Connor in the highest regard, with 61 percent having a favorable opinion of him.’
      • ‘We hold teachers in high regard, up there with scientists, doctors and military officers.’
    6. 5.6with clause (of a judge or court) rule; decide.
      ‘the Court of Appeal held that there was no evidence to support the judge's assessment’
      • ‘The great weight of judicial precedent holds that there is no fundamental individual right to own a gun.’
      • ‘Kingston holds that there is no defence available and D is therefore convicted on the basis of his intention or recklessness.’
      • ‘The Court of Appeal held that the defendant bank had acted without negligence.’
      • ‘The Court of Appeal held that he was not entitled to make that amendment.’
      • ‘The judge held that the trust ended as soon as the money was paid into court.’
      • ‘In the event, the judge held that the decision was not perverse and he dismissed the appeal.’
      • ‘The Court of Appeal held that the judge was correct to take this approach.’
      • ‘The judge held that they should have approached the Law Society for assistance at a much earlier stage.’
      • ‘In fact, one of the South Australian single judges held that there was no jurisdiction.’
      • ‘The judge held that each of the appellants was personally responsible for the misleading accounts.’
      • ‘The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge was justified in making that decision.’
      • ‘If each of the drivers were alive and neither chose to give evidence, the court would unhesitatingly hold that both were to blame.’
      • ‘The judge held that the reinsurers could not withhold approval unless there were reasonable grounds for doing so.’
      • ‘The judge held that there was no financial inducement which led Watford to accept the relevant contract term.’
      • ‘This court held that the claimants were entitled to the cost of repairs.’
      • ‘Once again the Court of Appeal held that no such retrospective application of section 3 was possible.’
      • ‘On appeal the Court of Appeal held that the judge had properly allowed the evidence of the interviews to be given.’
      • ‘The coroner refused to leave the issue of neglect to the jury and the Court of Appeal held that he was right not to do so.’
      • ‘The Registrar held that Lloyd's refusal of the offer that they had made was not unreasonable.’
      • ‘It is not entirely clear to me in what respects the judge held Mr Skinner to have been negligent.’
  • 6with object Keep or reserve for someone.

    ‘a booking can be held for twenty-four hours’
    • ‘Under the new commitments, airlines will also have to help customers locate the cheapest fares and hold reservations for 24 hours so that prices can be compared.’
    • ‘Mr Cunliffe said the news had come too late for this year's budget process and the money would go into the general fund to be held in reserve.’
    • ‘I asked one of the salespeople to hold it for me, and then I went back later and bought it.’
    • ‘Of the nineteen planes, five would be held in reserve during the attacks.’
    • ‘Much of the money was being held in reserve to help pay for a new sports hall.’
    • ‘Mr Fellows said that the office's mail had been held by the Post Office over Christmas and delivered on Monday.’
    • ‘Five years later she is worth £15 million - money that is held in a trust until she is 21.’
    put to one side, put aside, set aside, lay aside, keep back
    View synonyms
    1. 6.1 Maintain (a telephone connection) until the person one has telephoned is free to speak.
      ‘please hold the line, and I'll see if he's available’
      no object ‘will you hold?’
      • ‘‘You have my daughter Mia there. I wonder if I can have a word with her please.’ ‘Certainly sir. Just hold the line and I'll take the phone through to her.’’
      • ‘Please hold and your call will be answered as soon as possible.’
      • ‘The Evening Press tried to get through to the service, but, after being told to hold the line, had to wait for three minutes before getting any reply.’
      • ‘Oh hello Stephanie, can you hold the line a moment and I'll go and find him.’
  • 7with object Prevent from going ahead or occurring.

    ‘hold your fire!’
    • ‘Most experts also thought the Bank would hold its fire for fear of giving fresh impetus to house price rises or high consumer debt levels.’
    • ‘Analysts expect the company to hold fire on any further price rises.’
    • ‘It was certainly not the kind of news for which editors hold the front page.’
    • ‘‘Hold your fire until I say otherwise,’ he ordered.’
    • ‘The pilot was under orders to hold fire, a fellow airman testified yesterday.’
    1. 7.1North American informal Refrain from adding or using (something, typically an item of food or drink)
      ‘a strawberry margarita, but hold the tequila’
      • ‘As more Americans hold the cream and cut the carbs, Starbucks has been forced to respond.’
      • ‘When she ate there, once or twice a month, she asked them to hold the cheese on her burger and give her a salad instead of fries.’
      • ‘Would Steve McQueen have been a skinny latte man? Does Sean Penn ask them to hold the fries and the bun when he orders a burger?’
      • ‘Add a slice of cheese to your sandwich, but hold the mayonnaise.’
    2. 7.2hold itinformal Wait or stop doing something.
      ‘hold it right there, mate!’
      • ‘Hold it! Something doesn't sound right.’
      • ‘Hold it right there. No one's going anywhere.’
      • ‘‘Whoa, hold it a minute,’ Mike said, sitting up straight in his chair.’
    3. 7.3archaic no object Restrain oneself.
      ‘‘Hold, hold!’ he cried’
  • 8with object Arrange and take part in (a meeting or conversation)

    ‘a meeting was held at the church’
    • ‘Many areas across the county will, of course, be holding their own local events.’
    • ‘The meeting will be held at St John's and St Mark's Church Hall in Parkinson Street at 7pm.’
    • ‘A memorial service for Mr Brown will be held later that day at 2.30 pm at St Mary's Church in Tetbury.’
    • ‘If the problems are a result of bullying at school, meetings may be held with school staff, the pupil and the support worker.’
    • ‘The programme of courses to be held at the University of Bath in Swindon included such subjects as juggling and wine tasting.’
    • ‘Several meetings were held over the years until in 1884 Mrs J. Murray laid the foundation stone.’
    • ‘The first nationwide courses are being held at eight locations across the country this weekend.’
    • ‘The firefighters' strikes planned for this week were dramatically suspended last night so that fresh talks can be held over pay.’
    • ‘But there was one person with whom I was able to hold an amicable and fruitful conversation.’
    • ‘Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust holds its annual general meeting tonight.’
    • ‘The congress is being held under the auspices of the President of Bulgaria.’
    • ‘A series of informational meetings will be held over the next two weeks to give members details of the proposal.’
    • ‘He had asked for neighborhoods to come out and hold rallies in support of the new government and no one did.’
    • ‘Employees of the state-owned Timber Corporation and their families held a protest over jobs on Thursday.’
    • ‘The official opening was held on Monday night last and a full report will be carried in our next issue.’
    • ‘There are only a few places left for the Spanish Course which will be held in September.’
    • ‘Duma elections were held most recently on December 7, 2003, and presidential elections on March 14, 2004.’
    • ‘Numerous family events were held over the August weekend including a carnival and demonstrations from birds of prey.’
    • ‘More than a dozen of these model conferences are held annually across Canada.’
    • ‘Special training classes on road safety would be held in schools to educate children.’
    convene, call, assemble, summon
    View synonyms


  • 1An act or manner of grasping something; a grip.

    ‘he caught hold of her arm’
    ‘he lost his hold and fell’
    • ‘O'Connell said they had eased their hold on him when he stopped struggling.’
    • ‘Victoria reached up and grabbed hold of her younger sister's wrist.’
    • ‘They both grabbed hold of the handles, and began to open the enormous doors.’
    • ‘He slid down slowly and Cora, alarmed, caught hold of him around the waist.’
    • ‘Without another thought Royce clambered out the window, keeping a tight hold on the makeshift rope.’
    • ‘I tried to smooth down my hair but Noah caught hold of my hands and held them in his, looking me straight in the eye.’
    • ‘The only way Jenn learned of their presence was when one of them clamped a hand over her mouth and the other four gained a tight hold on her arms.’
    • ‘I patted his neck, which was damp with sweat, and loosened my hold on the reins.’
    • ‘The woman fell trying in vain to keep hold of the bag.’
    • ‘Taking hold of the doorknob Tommy slowly began to open the door.’
    • ‘A policeman caught hold of him and dragged him over the fence to safety, leaving him with nothing more serious than bruises.’
    • ‘I slipped, caught hold of the back of a chair, and sat down on the floor, heavily.’
    • ‘I've always had my suspicions regarding Desmond's apparently tenuous hold on reality.’
    • ‘He kept tight hold of her hand, then released it and put his arm about her waist.’
    • ‘Keeping hold of the ball was one of England's problems during the World Cup.’
    • ‘Make certain that you keep hold of the receipts.’
    • ‘As they fought she grabbed hold of the mask and tore it off his face.’
    • ‘Lydia stands, but George keeps a firm hold of her hand for a moment longer.’
    • ‘As she struggled to keep hold of the bag she was kicked three times in the stomach before the group of four fled.’
    • ‘I tightened my hold around her waist a little and kissed the top of her head.’
    • ‘I glared at him, but since he had a tight hold on my hand and I wasn't in the mood for a scene I followed him.’
    grip, grasp, clasp, clutch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A particular way of grasping or restraining someone, especially an opponent in wrestling or judo.
      • ‘For example, wrestling includes many holds, which can easily be performed in such a way that they damage the elbow, shoulder, neck or leg joints.’
      • ‘Now, I will be the first to tell anyone that there is a lot more to being an announcer than knowing the names of moves and holds.’
      • ‘Inside the base gymnasium, they practice wrestling holds to prove themselves capable of hand-to-hand combat.’
      • ‘He is a master of numerous holds and throws and is a throwback to a time when stories were told in the ring and not on the microphone.’
      • ‘Older boys are using wrestling holds to intimidate younger students.’
      • ‘When properly applied, the choke hold causes unconsciousness in 10-20 seconds.’
    2. 1.2 A place where one can grip with one's hands or feet while climbing.
      ‘he felt carefully with his feet for a hold and swung himself up’
      • ‘She walked over to the pillar, and put her foot on one of the holds.’
      • ‘His fingers scrabbled at the stone and found holds, but not before he dropped a foot; he hung on to the tower with weary fingers and an iron grip.’
      • ‘Placing my hands gingerly upon the first holds and locating the proper foot placement, I commence with my climb.’
      • ‘He set his feet firmly apart and reaching forward, gripped the rough holds.’
      • ‘Try to position your hands and feet on the holds in the positions you will want them in for the next move.’
      • ‘When climbing, our feet should be placed securely in a hold before placing our hands.’
      • ‘I pulled myself up to the next hold and continued up for about five feet.’
      • ‘I started back up and climbed about ten feet higher on tiny little holds.’
      • ‘The only holds offered were the handrail on the roof and the small cleat amidships.’
      • ‘When I latched on to this hold and let my feet swing out from the face below, I felt an alarming sense of fatigue in my arms.’
  • 2in singular Power or control.

    ‘Tom had some kind of hold over his father’
    • ‘Gaitskell performed effectively in Parliament over the Suez crisis and confirmed his hold over the party.’
    • ‘The military consolidated their hold on power.’
    • ‘Clearly, the Italian Renaissance continues to exert a powerful hold on historical imagination.’
    • ‘Antony remained in the east, while Octavian retained a brutal hold on Italy.’
    • ‘At least this season Ferrari's hold has been, temporarily at least, broken.’
    • ‘The Germans had tightened their hold on the whole country and it became more difficult to arrange transport for the Allied soldiers.’
    • ‘The court might be reasoning that she still has some psychological hold over the young man, or that being with him is emotionally bad for her or for him.’
    • ‘Since the public has lost faith in ideology, politicians must now use fear in order to maintain their hold over the masses.’
    • ‘I just couldn't seem to get a hold on my emotions.’
    influence, power, control, dominance, pull, sway, mastery, authority, leverage
    control, grip, power, stranglehold, dominion, authority, ascendancy
    View synonyms
  • 3archaic A fortress.


  • be left holding the baby

    • informal Be left with an unwelcome responsibility, typically without warning.

      • ‘Council-tax payers do not want to be left holding the baby - a baby which has grown in a way no one has had control of.’
      • ‘When the bubble burst, their shareholders were left holding the bag.’
      • ‘Ultimately our soldiers are the ones left holding the bag.’
      • ‘Yes, we are interested in helping, but we don't want to be left holding the baby.’
      • ‘‘I don't think Craven District Council should be left holding the baby on its own,’ he said.’
      • ‘Doctors may be feeling as though they were left holding the bag.’
      • ‘Everyone agrees that it shouldn't have happened but no one wants to be left holding the baby.’
      • ‘When the steady market increases came to a halt, and the dishonesty of some in corporate America came to light, shareholders were often left holding the bag.’
      • ‘There is little room for sympathy when chief executives screw up, particularly if shareholders, employees and customers are left holding the baby.’
      • ‘At the time, there were few, if any, construction or safety standards and the consumer was often left holding the bag.’
  • get hold of

    • 1Grasp physically.

      • ‘I couldn't see so all I did was grab thin air until I got hold of them and got them out together.’
      • ‘Quickly, she grabbed one of his arms while Cyrus got hold of the other.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Stephanie's hand slipped inside his hand, which had loosened its grip a bit, and got hold of the piece of paper.’
      • ‘When I pick him up, he clutches whatever he can get hold of.’
      • ‘Phil managed to get hold of it with both hands and pick it up.’
      • ‘I grabbed my camera, missed, and got hold of Graham's camera instead.’
      • ‘Brave Jack managed to get hold of her arms and, in spite of once losing his grip, pull her to safety.’
      • ‘She snatched up the nearest thing that her hand could get hold of.’
      • ‘One fireman seemed to get hold of him then he seemed to slip from his grasp.’
      • ‘The surfer even managed to get hold of Aimee at one point but he lost grip of her when another giant wave hit.’
      1. 1.1Grasp (something) intellectually; understand.
        • ‘Once you get hold of the concept, you just need to use a bit of common sense to tackle tricky questions.’
        • ‘If this doesn't make sense to you (it took me a while to get hold of the idea) don't worry.’
      2. 1.2informal Obtain.
        ‘if you can't get hold of ripe tomatoes, add some tomato puree’
        • ‘We managed to get hold of two bottles of whiskey for 30 dollars.’
        • ‘The difficulties lie less in getting hold of information, but in being able to understand it and assess its relevance.’
        • ‘It is a mystery how the fraudsters managed to get hold of the couple's address in Britain.’
        • ‘Don's unique selling proposition was that he managed to get hold of the question papers well before the exams were held.’
        • ‘Robert had a gift for acquiring guarded information that no one else could get hold of.’
        • ‘It is very easy for young people to get hold of their parents' credit cards or to acquire credit cards by other means.’
        • ‘A thief managed to get hold of their private PIN number to raid their account.’
        • ‘Our neighbour managed to get hold of some more tools and after a bit of mucking about, we managed to gain entry without causing too much damage.’
        • ‘In a scene repeated in shops all over Hampshire youngsters who had managed to get hold of the book were desperate to start reading it as soon as it was in their hands.’
        • ‘We are very concerned that someone is attempting to get hold of original certificates, which could then be used to obtain false documentation such as passports or for other fraudulent purposes.’
        obtain, acquire, get, find, come by, pick up, procure, get possession of
        View synonyms
      3. 1.3informal Find or manage to contact (someone)
        ‘I'll try and get hold of Mark’
        • ‘Your Aunt Lillian managed to get hold of him and it seems there's little chance of my son escaping her clutches until the Season ends.’
        • ‘We managed to get hold of someone at the company in order to explain to us how this concept works.’
        • ‘We got the story back to Scotland in time for the first editions, and Patricia Ferguson managed to get hold of Jack McConnell in China.’
        • ‘She got my cell phone number from my mother, who warned her I was impossible to get hold of because I never pick up the phone, but Debbie got me on the first try.’
        • ‘Eventually, she managed to get hold of neighbours who rushed her to hospital.’
        • ‘So I'm going to have to get hold of the Embassies here in Australia and physically go through and check out the correct pronunciations of every player and every official in their teams, to make sure.’
        • ‘All he was able to say when his wife in London managed to get hold of him was simply to repeat, ‘Everything's gone.’’
        contact, get in touch with, communicate with, make contact with, approach, reach, notify, be in communication with
        View synonyms
  • hold the ball

    • Commit the offence of persisting to hold on to the ball after being legitimately tackled.

      ‘they were caught holding the ball on several occasions’
      • ‘I can never understand the inconsistency on holding the ball whereby if a perfect tackle is laid, but the player has no chance to dispose of the ball, it's a ball-up, but if a player is grabbed by one arm, rendering him incapable of disposal, a free kick is paid.’
      • ‘He was pinged holding the ball inside the defensive 50m.’
      • ‘"I got done for holding the ball quite a bit," he said.’
      • ‘The player was caught holding the ball.’
      • ‘His tackling won three holding the ball decisions.’
      • ‘He tried to balk and twist around somebody and got caught holding the ball, and the umpires pay the free kick.’
      • ‘I have identified holding the ball in the cases where apparently identical breaches went unpenalised.’
      • ‘The team needed a contentious holding the ball free kick.’
      • ‘The suspension is confusing as he was awarded a free kick for holding the ball from the now-penalised tackle.’
      • ‘They defeated a Victorian representative side by 73 points in a practice match on Sunday but were caught holding the ball on several occasions.’
  • hold someone/something cheap

    • archaic Have a low opinion of someone or something.

      ‘I began to dislike Linton, and to excuse his father for holding him cheap’
      • ‘Rather than holding their manhood cheap, they step forward to share in the glory.’
      • ‘If it continues its insincere attitude over its nuclear development programs and the abduction issue, and holds the international community cheap, it will end up in stewing in its own juice.’
      • ‘Even if you don't believe in the cause yourself, you have to admit that this is the sort of thing that makes gentlemen safe abed hold their manhood cheap.’
      • ‘It was an ability that made those who hadn't dared to try think themselves accursed, holding their manhoods cheap.’
      • ‘I could tell you that at least one person would not hold his manhood cheap and that he still has the moustaches to prove it.’
  • hold court

    • Be the centre of attention amidst a crowd of one's admirers.

      ‘Lewis was holding court in the small dressing room’
      • ‘Fifteen minutes later, he was already holding court with a crowd of reporters, fielding questions without being out of breath.’
      • ‘He rarely wrote letters, conducting his business on the telephone or, more often, holding court in public houses, where he was an unrivalled raconteur.’
      • ‘At the centre of the room a Rubenesque woman is holding court, the light catching a twist of green at the front of her coal black hair.’
      • ‘The reason he's holding court in front of a table of journalists is because of his new film, one of three he has coming out in the early part of 2003.’
      • ‘He would often be seen holding court in Swindon's clubs.’
      • ‘Mum Brenda always holds court at family gatherings.’
      • ‘And he's holding court on one of the most popular daytime TV shows, so what's the secret of his success where so many else have failed?’
      • ‘He has just come in from training, lounging easily in the kitchen of their fabulous new pavilion, arms folded, holding court.’
      • ‘Amazingly tall and thin, she oozes charm from every pore, holding court beside the director of the film.’
      • ‘Stumbling inadvertently into the press conference for the women's singles winner, I found Venus Williams holding court to all of 12 journalists.’
  • hold someone/something dear

    • Care for or value someone or something greatly.

      ‘fidelity is something most of us hold dear’
      • ‘As you might expect, I will always hold Mary dear to my heart.’
      • ‘Canadians hold their values dear, but are not keen to see them imposed on others.’
      • ‘It is a gift from them to us, and we must indeed hold it dear.’
      • ‘We are all the results of our histories and as such we should hold our heritage dear.’
      • ‘If you are to attain the position of emperor, you must hold your people dear.’
      • ‘Up to this day many communities still hold these traditions dear and the names of certain places tell stories of the people who once lived there.’
      • ‘It is in those moments when we face our fears that laughter is especially welcome, and comic and tender memories are held dear.’
      • ‘He has good reason to hold Rab dear to his heart, however much he insists he was just a two-dimensional character in a script.’
      • ‘Secularism is in peril, and those who hold it dear need to work for it.’
      • ‘We hold these values dear to our hearts because they resonate with strong emotional ties.’
      cherish, treasure, prize, appreciate, value highly, rate highly, care very much about, care very much for, place a high value on, attach great importance to, set great store by
      cherish, treasure, prize, value highly
      View synonyms
  • hold fast

    • 1Remain tightly secured.

      ‘the door held fast, obviously locked’
      • ‘He tried prying open the trunk, but the lock held fast, and he only succeeded in bending the lid slightly.’
      • ‘The door holds fast for just a moment before giving, groaning its displeasure at the shabby treatment it has recently received.’
      • ‘The barrier held fast against the attack.’
      • ‘The chain around my neck held fast.’
      • ‘He turned back to the door and pressed the bar, but it held fast.’
      1. 1.1Continue to believe in or adhere to an idea or principle.
        ‘it is important that we hold fast to the policies’
        • ‘How many of us still hold fast to our early political ideals?’
        • ‘The government doesn't need to hold fast to its original plan in the face of such fierce opposition.’
        • ‘Compassionate conservatives need to hold fast to this optimistic message.’
        • ‘More than 10 years down the track, I hold fast to that maxim.’
        • ‘I, for one, try to hold fast to the Bible and it's principles.’
        • ‘We hold fast to our commitment to be better dads than our own.’
        • ‘He held fast to his love of God and remained ever positive.’
        • ‘I hold fast to my faith and my practices, but have to be flexible.’
        • ‘Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears.’
        • ‘On the other hand, faith changes those who hold fast to their beliefs.’
  • hold the fort

    • Take responsibility for a situation while another person is temporarily absent.

      • ‘As the strike continues, four heads of department are holding the fort.’
      • ‘Today is the last day that I'm going to be holding the fort at work.’
      • ‘They have all gone now and I am left holding the fort.’
      • ‘A skeleton staff held the fort during the industrial action, which followed two months of inconclusive pay talks and a failure last week to negotiate a deal.’
      • ‘Without her holding the fort at the office and doing all the paperwork, we'd never be able to do it all.’
      • ‘Sue asks her colleague to hold the fort while she pops outside for a moment.’
      • ‘The Lord Chancellor had been left to hold the fort.’
      • ‘But then again, is it fair on the staff who live nearby to be expected to hold the fort when their colleagues can't make it in?’
      • ‘Just so you don't get bored while I'm gone, I've got a few requests for you to carry out while you're holding the fort.’
      • ‘I just feel that I'm holding the fort until my father comes back.’
      stand in, fill in, act as stand-in, deputize, act as deputy, substitute, act as substitute, take over, be a substitute
      View synonyms
  • hold good (or true)

    • Remain true or valid.

      ‘his views still hold true today’
      • ‘Everything written in the letter of 1998 holds good today.’
      • ‘In his time at the White House, President John F Kennedy made a number of wise and very quotable comments and most of them still hold good today.’
      • ‘If I had to live on my writing I would have starved by now and this I think holds true for most writers.’
      • ‘This especially holds true if local owners of commercial and residential properties do not want to rebuild in the disaster area.’
      • ‘The old trade union maxim still holds true: United we stand, divided we fall.’
      • ‘So far his prediction has held good and I am confident that it that it will remain so.’
      • ‘Lord Acton's dictum that absolute power corrupts absolutely holds good today.’
      • ‘Whether these findings on exercise motivation hold true for humans remains to be studied.’
      • ‘The world has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and some advice given years ago would no longer hold true today.’
      • ‘He said the maxim, prevention is better than cure, holds true in agriculture as in human health.’
  • hold someone's hand

    • Give a person comfort, guidance, or moral support in a difficult situation.

      • ‘It helps if someone holds your hand and sort of walks you through the day, which someone did.’
      • ‘But I don't get out much, and when I do, I don't want my mother there, holding my hand; like it was my first day at school.’
      • ‘It isn't like an American or British detective series where the solicitor sits in and holds your hand.’
      • ‘I'm aware that when I go places there isn't someone with me holding my hand.’
      • ‘In the game nobody watches you and holds your hand and tells you what is what.’
      • ‘If these actors are going to make it, they will do so without the drama society holding their hand.’
      • ‘One of the most common routes is to take is the law conversion course, usually with a training contract at a law firm that holds your hand through the process and pays nicely too.’
      • ‘It's not surprising that Leon doesn't believe in holding a student 's hand: all his life, his only teacher has been the thumping waves.’
      • ‘You're a big girl, and you can handle stuff without a friend holding your hand.’
      • ‘Athletes cannot breathe these days without an agent holding their hand and going, ‘There, there’.’
  • hold hands

    • (of two or more people) clasp each other by the hand, typically as a sign of affection.

      • ‘Soon the pair hit it off and spent the return journey holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes.’
      • ‘The thing that really gets me is their intimate behaviour, sitting close together and holding hands.’
      • ‘They walked around the shopping centre holding hands, and staring at each other lovingly.’
      • ‘Almost four hundred years later it still is the awe inspiring place where lovers hold hands and swoon over each other.’
      • ‘We would hold hands, or wrap our arms around each other while taking a stroll on the sea wall.’
      • ‘People skate in couples or larger groups, tightly holding hands and trying to keep balance.’
      • ‘Once in a while young couples can be seen walking the streets holding hands.’
      • ‘Two friends engulfed in grief held hands helping each other through the difficult time.’
      • ‘Friends of the same sex may hold hands and greet each other with kisses on the cheek.’
      • ‘On the train, a couple sits together, holding hands and speaking in hushed voices.’
  • hold hard

    • as imperativeStop or wait.

      • ‘But hold hard, Jim lad, this is not the end of the story.’
      • ‘Hold hard, though - I'm getting ahead of myself.’
      • ‘Hey, hold hard there matey, I am the director you know.’
  • hold someone/something harmless

    • Indemnify someone or something.

      • ‘Product liability law and case law have overwhelmingly favored manufacturers' products intended to be used by responsible people, and have held the manufacturers harmless for abuses of those products by the lawless.’
      • ‘We're going back and asking clients to make price adjustments that will hold us harmless for price increases going forward, so we can stop the bleeding at some point and try to recover.’
      • ‘Yet once the law recognizes the possibility of holding a trivial error harmless, it is a relatively small step to say that even substantial errors that have a trivial impact on the outcome should be held harmless.’
      • ‘Add a clause to the sales contract saying the seller agrees to hold you harmless and indemnify you against any claims that occurred before you owned the boat.’
      • ‘The pharmaceutical industry convinced political leaders to hold it harmless against lawsuits while, at the same time, profiting from a massive vaccination program actively promoted by government.’
  • hold one's horses

    • informal usually as imperativeWait a moment.

      • ‘If she holds her horses I will tell her the solution.’
      • ‘We will be here until morning, so the Minister should just hold his horses.’
      • ‘‘OK, OK, hold your horses… ‘she started to say as everyone headed for the door.’
      • ‘‘Okay, hold your horses,’ Damon muttered, grabbing his bag off the ground and his Junior Varsity letterman jacket off the peg on the coat rack right inside the foyer.’
      • ‘Well, hold your horses, because this disc is hardly worth a King's ransom.’
      • ‘There are a number of reasons, and if they just hold their horses for a moment, I shall explain those reasons to them.’
      • ‘But hold your horses - some already have their tickets.’
      • ‘Ok, ok, hold your horses, you just finished a big game, you should be tired.’
      • ‘To those members who may be a bit nervous about where we are heading with that, I say that they should hold their horses, make their submissions to the select committee, and be involved in the process.’
      • ‘‘Whoa, hold your horses buddy,’ I said raising my eyebrow.’
  • hold the line

    • Not yield to the pressure of a difficult situation.

      ‘France's central bank would hold the line’
      • ‘Lawmakers should hold the line against their demands.’
      • ‘Every other Labour government has seen big unions holding the line against radical constituencies.’
      • ‘The agency will argue that in holding the line on pay and in demanding employee health contributions and oversight of the union's health care trust fund, it was doing its best to safeguard the tax money entrusted to it by the public.’
      • ‘Over the years critics have noted that Terry often found it difficult to hold the line on a budget.’
      • ‘Most parents already find it difficult to hold the line.’
      • ‘He's for keeping middle-class tax cuts and holding the line on free trade.’
      • ‘I think that he is sticking to his word and holding the line on the tax cuts that he promised to give.’
      • ‘For its part, the British government has tried to hold the line against hysteria and appear reasonable, issuing a new ‘don't panic’ message.’
      • ‘I led my city out of recession by holding the line on taxes and cutting waste.’
      • ‘One could hope that Tim's example is inspiring other governors to hold the line on taxes, but I don't have the sense that that is happening in many states.’
  • hold the man

    • Commit the offence of holding on to an opposing player who is not in possession of the ball.

      ‘he would pay a free kick for holding the man’
      • ‘The holding the man decision paid against him.’
      • ‘Some of the rules, e.g. "round the neck", "holding the ball", and "holding the man", are enforced very rarely in proportion to the dozens of infringements seen in any match.’
      • ‘Sometimes you'll see a player running along and another player will grab him when we hasn't got the ball and you'd probably say "Holding the man!" but as an umpire I've got to weigh up quite a few variables.’
      • ‘Jack has had a holding the man tackle paid against him.’
      • ‘Umpires and everyone, does anyone have a clear idea of the rule about "holding the man"?’
  • hold one's nose

    • Squeeze one's nostrils with one's fingers in order to avoid inhaling an unpleasant smell.

      • ‘A journalist said he had to hold his nose during an interview and compared the smell of the actor's feet to a bag of perished potatoes that had been kept in a cupboard for two weeks.’
      • ‘And it doesn't stink, so you don't have to worry about holding your nose while you apply it.’
      • ‘They would hold their nose against the smell and try their luck to find any hidden piece of food or treasure in their pockets.’
      • ‘Joey had to blow onto his fingers, and hold his nose, at the same time.’
      • ‘She backed up slightly holding her nose at the horrid smell that reached her nostrils.’
      • ‘It had a really dodgy smell and Isabel had to hold her nose to prevent herself from inhaling it.’
      • ‘A traffic constable holding his nose to fight off plumes of exhaust gases, street-lamps lit up in broad daylight and vehicles idling at traffic lights were some of the images used to highlight the need to conserve fuel.’
      • ‘Tania is holding her nose against the smell of urine and all are dressed warmly to beat the cold.’
      • ‘They try to hide its vile taste by adding diluting orange or lemon but this doesn't work too well and I still have to hold my nose while drinking it.’
      • ‘‘Yeah, and take a shower and make sure you brush your teeth, you smell’ Trey said, holding his nose.’
  • hold (one's) serve (or service)

    • (in tennis and other racket sports) win a game in which one is serving.

      • ‘Murray took the first three games of the second set unanswered, breaking Lee once and holding serve twice.’
      • ‘The two then held serve to force a tiebreak, although Venus had to save one set point during the 12 th game.’
      • ‘The Argentina team had problems holding serve and the Swedes were eager to finish the match in four sets.’
      • ‘Indeed, he never looked comfortable in the early going, barely managing to hold serve twice.’
      • ‘She dominated the second game, only giving up one point, to hold serve and take a 2-0 lead.’
      • ‘There are a few factors that will increase your chances of holding serve even without a powerful serve.’
      • ‘You know, I was able to just hold my serve and keep that break, and the then break her to win it.’
      • ‘The Spaniard held serve for the rest of the set to win the 12 th title of his clay court streak.’
      • ‘Both held serve again easily and then Roddick stepped up the line and served for the first set.’
      • ‘They then recorded a second break point for the 5-3 advantage and held serve for the victory.’
  • hold thumbs

    • Fold one's fingers over one's thumb to bring good luck.

      • ‘We'll keep preparing for the final bid presentation in Chicago in November - and keep holding thumbs.’
      • ‘An elderly woman said yesterday: ‘I've bought two tickets and I'm holding thumbs because somebody has to win the big one.’’
      • ‘South Africans will be holding thumbs for a dose of good news coming out of Dublin, Ireland, tonight at 6pm our time.’
      • ‘They are only holding thumbs hoping that things will improve, rather sooner than later.’
      • ‘South Africa will be holding thumbs for double Olympic champion Penny Heyns when she dives off the blocks in defence of her 100m breaststroke title at the Millennium Games in Sydney tomorrow.’
  • hold someone to bail

    • Bind someone by bail.

      • ‘The objection that the bail had discharged the judgement and for his indemnity had arrested the plaintiff here, and held him to bail, is not supported by the requisite evidence to establish the fact.’
      • ‘This last measure made the Justices of the Peace mere puppets, unable to commit a prisoner or to hold him to bail.’
      • ‘Bement held him to bail in the sum of $500 for his appearance to Court.’
      • ‘While every justice of the peace could issue his warrant against a supposed libeller, and hold him to bail; the secretary of state, armed with the extraordinary powers of the Habeas Corpus suspension act, could imprison him, upon bare suspicion, and detain him in safe custody, without bringing him to trial.’
      • ‘It shall require the sheriff of the county where the defendant may be found forthwith to arrest him and hold him to bail in a specified sum, and to return the order at a place and time therein mentioned to the clerk of the court in which the action is brought.’
  • hold one's tongue

    • informal often in imperativeRemain silent.

      • ‘I held my tongue, paid for the milk, and went home.’
      • ‘I've held my tongue for weeks now, but seeing this commercial four times in the past hour has finally pushed me over the edge.’
      • ‘I tried to hold my tongue, but I cannot take it anymore.’
      • ‘Many times my students make me upset, but I have to control myself and hold my tongue so as not to hurt others.’
      • ‘Here's where I attempt to hold my tongue for the day and try to stay away from politics and war.’
      • ‘Well I have held my tongue for too long, and it stops here.’
      • ‘He figures, as men do, that it would be best to hold his tongue.’
      • ‘But he is not a man to hold his tongue when he feels strongly about an issue.’
      • ‘Emma, angry at the insult to Miss Taylor's husband, holds her tongue for the sake of family civility.’
      • ‘I was going to ask whether she was joking but decided to hold my tongue as class ended.’
  • hold water

    • often with negative(of a statement, theory, or line of reasoning) appear to be valid, sound, or reasonable.

      ‘this argument just does not hold water’
      • ‘The theory that does not hold water with me is that cannabis leads on to harder drugs.’
      • ‘But I don't know enough about the public health statistics to know whether this objection actually holds water.’
      • ‘This interpretation holds water, but it doesn't account for the poetry, the hilarity, and the glimmers of hope that underpin the film.’
      • ‘A quick examination shows that none of these explanations holds water.’
      • ‘Historically, the theory of collective guilt does not hold water.’
      • ‘This subject has come up before - I just don't think it holds water.’
      • ‘In other words, their excuse does not hold water!’
      • ‘The explanation given last night does not, on reflection, appear to hold water.’
      • ‘I have proved that your statements don't hold water.’
      • ‘As far as I'm concerned my argument completely holds water.’
      be tenable, ring true, bear examination, bear scrutiny, survive investigation, make sense, work out, stand up, hold up, be convincing, be plausible, be verifiable, be provable, be sound
      View synonyms
  • no holds barred

    • 1(in wrestling) with no restrictions on the kinds of holds that are used.

      • ‘I have 9 no holds barred fights and am ranked the #1 fighter in the world under 155 lb.’
      • ‘This time it was McCabe versus Steel, in a tag match with no holds barred.’
      • ‘Forms of contemporary no holds barred wrestling in which rules are thrown out the window are Hardcore Wrestling and Cage Fighting.’
      • ‘So basically after the bands have finished they put this ring up, they actually construct a ring in the bar, anyone can go up and you can have gloves, bareknuckle or no holds barred, three round fights.’
      • ‘A fun, no holds barred brawl between Finlay and JBL started the night off right.’
      • ‘This would be a bruising, no-holds-barred grapple.’
      1. 1.1Used to convey that no rules or restrictions apply in a conflict or dispute.
        ‘no-holds-barred military action’
        • ‘Keep the questions coming, ask about anything that is on your mind with no holds barred, and I will do my best to provide answers.’
        • ‘But clearly what was taking place was a bitter power struggle between opposing ruling cliques with no holds barred on either side.’
        • ‘‘It is a totally honest account of what it was like to be with the front line pickets, no holds barred, a wonderful document,’ he says.’
        • ‘The host assured us that this was to be a ‘frank, open exchange, with no holds barred.’’
        • ‘They will act with no holds barred, including the use of nuclear weapons.’
        • ‘Wouldn't it be supremely interesting to hear what people had to say about you with no holds barred?’
        • ‘It was an assassin's duel, the usual messy fray, no holds barred.’
        • ‘There were no holds barred in that war.’
        • ‘This was a tough no holds barred encounter which threatened to spill over at several junctures such was the committed and no-nonsense approach adopted by both teams.’
        • ‘The two redoubled their efforts, attacking each other viciously, no holds barred.’
  • on hold

    • 1Waiting to be connected while making a telephone call.

      ‘‘I'll just see if he's free,’ Rachel said, and put me on hold’
      • ‘Businesses even need a licence to play music on their telephone line when customers are put on hold.’
      • ‘However for consumers, five minutes of waiting on hold, can undo years of advertising and brand exposure.’
      • ‘People trapped in fires don't want to be stuck on hold listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons’
      • ‘People trying to contact the council by phone have complained of being put on hold for long periods or waiting’
      • ‘Honestly, what a nerve - them ringing you up to put you on hold until they have someone free to talk to you.’
      • ‘She put me on hold and then sure enough, I was talking with Jim Holman.’
      • ‘The call was charged at premium rate, I was put on hold until nearly £5 of credit had been used.’
      • ‘I was put on hold, and when the person came back I was told that all appeared to be in order.’
      • ‘I called this place and asked to be put on hold, curious what the music would sound like.’
      • ‘Before the befuddled caller could reply, she placed him on hold again.’
      1. 1.1Temporarily not being dealt with or pursued.
        ‘he has had to put his career on hold’
        • ‘Then, once he had sampled the life of the full-time sportsman, he decided to stay on, and put his studies on hold.’
        • ‘It will not be surprising if all football activities are put on hold because of these ongoing squabbles.’
        • ‘We believe it is quite proper that those changes should be put on hold pending that investigation.’
        • ‘In effect, this means the roadworks programme has been put on hold until after the April meeting.’
        • ‘But discussions look set to be put on hold because of an ongoing problem regarding the new access road.’
        • ‘I want to put everything on hold and take off into the hills for a few days.’
        • ‘Many deals have been put on hold, and may be shelved for months if the market falls flat on its face for a prolonged period.’
        • ‘When he didn't hear from us, he assumed the project must be on hold.’
        • ‘When he found out about his dad's illness, he was busy writing and recording his new album - but all that went on hold.’
        • ‘The project was then put on hold indefinitely until such time that funding could be made available.’
        postpone, put off, put back, hold off, defer, delay, adjourn, shelve, suspend, hold in abeyance
        View synonyms
  • take hold

    • Start to have an effect.

      ‘the reforms of the late nineteenth century had taken hold’
      • ‘It's a message that's taking hold in Europe, causing more division between the EU and the US.’
      • ‘As forty degrees of sun and a lack of shade took hold, so my thoughts wandered.’
      • ‘The cancer took hold in 2001 leading to respiratory problems and a rapid decline in health.’
      • ‘However, the idea the trains would be required to shift increasing amounts of produce from the Mid West is taking hold.’
      • ‘The child was put to bed on Wednesday night - just hours later the virus took hold.’
      • ‘Many would seem to be tied into contracts which began before the surge in fuel prices took hold.’
      • ‘As the cancer took hold, she found it harder to cope with the physical demands of life, but her vitality never left her.’
      • ‘As many of your readers will know, meningitis can take hold rapidly with devastating and sometimes fatal effects.’
      • ‘In large doses the anaesthetic effect takes hold and can lead to respiratory problems.’
      • ‘As Parkinson's disease took hold, he developed a phobia about the cracks between paving stones.’
  • there is no holding someone

    • Used to convey that someone is particularly determined or cannot be prevented from doing something.

      ‘once Eva had found her vocation there was no holding her’
      • ‘Food nearly consumed, we once again found out that Dave had found the microphone; there is no holding him now.’
      • ‘Barry is back with us again after returning to Aussie for a while to save up to buy a new shirt and doubtlessly you will see him in these reports quite often in the weeks to come - there is no holding him now.’
      • ‘when he's determined to get away, there's no holding him.’
      • ‘Once they found their rhythm there was no holding them.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • hold something against someone

    • Allow past actions or circumstances to have a negative influence on one's present attitude towards someone.

      ‘if he failed her, she would hold it against him forever’
      • ‘I would appreciate, of course, a 10, but, if you feel inclined to give me a 9, I won't hold it against you.’
      • ‘Failure to give evidence on its own cannot prove guilt, but depending on the circumstances, you may hold his failure against him when deciding whether he is guilty.’
      • ‘We won't hold it against you if can't make it.’
      • ‘‘It wouldn't have even occurred to me that a professor would hold my views against me, the way these kids do,’ he said.’
      • ‘Make a genuine mistake and chances are that they will not hold it against you.’
      • ‘If we forgive someone we must let go of anger or blame for whatever they have done, stop holding it against them, and act with love towards them from now on.’
      • ‘I respect what everyone else decides but I hope my refusal is not held against me.’
      • ‘You could say anything to him and know he'd never be able to hold it against you.’
      • ‘It was a mark of his good nature that he did not hold it against you.’
      • ‘We have been told, for instance, that there is a blame culture, where officers are afraid of making mistakes because they think any mistake will be held against them for the rest of their career.’
  • hold back

    • Hesitate to act or speak.

      ‘he held back, remembering the mistake he had made before’
      • ‘However, it holds back from actually making a critical judgment.’
      • ‘There was little indication yesterday that producers were holding back but there are still four days to go.’
      • ‘Our very opinionated panel never holds back on the big stories of the week.’
      • ‘The fear of doing something wrong holds back so many people when learning how to do things.’
      • ‘This is the writer's strength - when she holds back she makes the reader want to take those imaginative leaps.’
      • ‘We're holding back on our enthusiasm until we are told that exchange of contracts has been scheduled firmly.’
      • ‘Whereas most DJs put on this all pervasive and all-knowing on-air persona, he holds back and comes across as merely another average guy just trying to get his head around this strange world we live in.’
      • ‘I've been holding back from commenting on them until I've had a chance to let my impressions settle a little.’
      • ‘This match began in a frenzy of punches with neither boxer holding back nor defending themselves with great aplomb.’
      • ‘Part of me is still for holding back as I don't want either of us to get hurt, but each day we just seem to grow deeper and deeper in love with each other.’
      hesitate, pause, stop oneself, restrain oneself, desist, forbear, discontinue, withhold from doing something, refrain from doing something
      View synonyms
  • hold someone/something back

    • 1Prevent or restrict the progress or development of someone or something.

      ‘my lack of experience held me back a bit’
      • ‘It is, I suppose, a lack of confidence about architectural values that holds us back from bold new statements and the imaginative adaptation of old buildings.’
      • ‘I know what holds me back: negativity, lack of confidence, anxiousness, and expectations.’
      • ‘We will not allow this experience to hold us back from doing anything.’
      • ‘We have so many ideas on promoting the history of soccer in America but our lack of funds is holding us back.’
      • ‘Apparently I am smarter than average, quite bright, but my lack self-confidence and initiative is holding me back.’
      • ‘It holds me back from progressing as fast as I'd like.’
      • ‘I didn't want something like lack of money to hold you back.’
      • ‘I've missed my friends and family and although we have made some new friends, the language barrier holds you back.’
      • ‘She wanted to experience life and didn't want to have anything to hold her back.’
      • ‘Remember, my sickness had held me back from exploring things that other young people could experience.’
      hinder, hamper, inhibit, impede, obstruct, check, curb, block, thwart, baulk, hamstring, restrain, frustrate, retard, delay, prevent from making progress, stand in someone's way
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Refuse or be unwilling to make something known.
        ‘you're not holding anything back from me, are you?’
        • ‘You know you've developed a good relationship with your students when they tell you about their weekends without holding anything back.’
        • ‘Well, one of the reasons I think there is a whiff of scandal here, at least as far as journalists are concerned, is because a lot of this information was held back by the administration.’
        • ‘Today, government figures are held back not only by a fear of being rumbled, but a terror that they won't be able to pull it off.’
        • ‘She leaves a suicide note, whose contents are held back until an appropriately melodramatic turning point.’
        • ‘What are you holding back that you're afraid to tell me?’
        withhold, hide, conceal, keep back, keep secret, keep hidden, keep silent about, keep quiet about, hush up, refuse to disclose, suppress
        View synonyms
  • hold someone down

    • Keep someone under strict control or severely restrict their freedom.

      ‘the people are held down by a repressive military regime’
      • ‘Strict rent control laws here hold down rents but give landlords little incentive to shell out for earthquake proofing.’
      • ‘Knox, a teacher's daughter, reportedly burst into tears when it was suggested she held her flatmate down.’
      • ‘Natalia looked about ready to kill Jake, but with her captor holding her down, she was helpless to do anything but glare icy daggers at him.’
      • ‘Their interests lie not in backing either of the rival armies facing each other in Kashmir, but in confronting the rulers who hold them down.’
      • ‘The demand for government loans has also been criticized by some later commentators for starving industry of funds, and so holding down the rate of economic growth.’
      • ‘Although they were often defeated, the Spanish armies continued to defy the French, while Spanish guerrillas held down large numbers of French troops.’
      • ‘She shrieked as he held her down.’
      • ‘She had seen it collapse, would have run back into the flames, but strong arms had held her down, apparently.’
      • ‘Twenty men could hold down the strongest strong man in any society, ancient or modern.’
      • ‘Even his numerous tattoos did not suggest military service, manliness, or evil so much as his having been held down forcibly by sadistic friends and mutilated.’
  • hold something down

    • Succeed in keeping a job or position for a period of time.

      ‘holding down two jobs was proving tiring for him’
      • ‘He would lose his temper in a flash and couldn't hold down a job.’
      • ‘Judy was also holding down another position - that of being a mother.’
      • ‘For the previous two seasons Richard has held down the position of the Business Manager.’
      • ‘Because of her health problems, she had difficulty holding down permanent work.’
      • ‘They could receive the payout even while continuing to hold down other jobs.’
      • ‘In the past I haven't held a job down but I've managed to keep this one because I enjoy it and I get support and help.’
      • ‘My father came from a family of alcoholics and he himself battled with it but still managed to hold down a job and educate two kids.’
      • ‘While Patrick had worked as a sheet metal fabricator, he has had difficulty holding down jobs since he left school.’
      • ‘Most of them will be people you know, holding down good jobs, good lives, good families.’
      • ‘Antony left his girlfriend a while ago, he has a job and he's holding it down.’
      occupy, hold, have, be in, fill
      View synonyms
  • hold forth

    • Talk lengthily, assertively, or tediously about a subject.

      ‘he was holding forth on the merits of the band's debut LP’
      • ‘Despite his insistence that his faith is a private matter, he has made it a public issue, and rarely misses an opportunity to hold forth on the subject.’
      • ‘They hold forth at length about how they despise Pinot Grigio because it ‘doesn't taste of anything much’.’
      • ‘They had been rigorously secular until one night when they attended a party and heard someone holding forth on the unlikely subject of hidden codes in the Torah.’
      • ‘He sits opposite me at the table and holds forth interminably, all the way through the meal.’
      • ‘There was the prime minister holding forth on the matter of democracy - a subject, he implied, about which the Church was particularly ignorant, if not a non-subscriber.’
      • ‘The Sunday Business Post has a section on its website where it holds forth on ethics and standards.’
      • ‘He is a football philosopher who will hold forth on just about any subject.’
      • ‘But Andy didn't just do cool little comics, he was also something of an academic, holding forth in debates about the origins and minutiae of comic strip art.’
      • ‘For two days, women held forth on a subject long considered taboo.’
      • ‘The meeting gets under way and the atmosphere is charged as speaker after speaker holds forth.’
      speak at length, talk at length, speak, talk, go on, sound off
      View synonyms
  • hold something in

    • Suppress an expression of emotion.

      ‘she tried to stop laughing, but it was too much to hold in’
      suppress, keep back, hold back, bite back, fight back, choke back, stifle, smother, subdue, rein in, repress, restrain, check, curb, control, keep in check, keep under control, keep a tight rein on
      View synonyms
  • hold someone/something off

    • Resist an attacker or challenge.

      ‘he held off a late challenge by Vose to win by thirteen seconds’
      • ‘With all his might he fought to hold her off.’
      • ‘Thankfully we had got into our game by then and managed to hold them off.’
      • ‘They really went for it and our lads did well to hold them off and obtain the point.’
      • ‘It took hundreds of cops and begging the owner of a local gun store for enough weapons to hold these guys off.’
      • ‘He pushed the men away and held them off until the police arrived and the attackers ran off.’
      • ‘But even if someone does come at me, I think I'm playing well enough that I can hopefully hold them off.’
      • ‘The four were gaining but could we hold them off?’
      • ‘The Indians attacked again at dusk, but they were held off by rifle and cannon fire.’
      • ‘The Liberal Democrats held them off in Torbay, which had been the most marginal seat in the country, and Labour retained Putney, in south west London, another key Tory target.’
      • ‘Robert is having the challenge of his life trying to hold the other five off, but he is standing strong.’
      resist, repel, repulse, rebuff, parry, deflect, keep off, fend off, stave off, ward off, keep at bay
      View synonyms
  • hold off

    • 1(of bad weather) fail to occur.

      ‘fortunately, the rain held off until the evening’
      • ‘The sky was darkening but the rain was still just holding off.’
      • ‘The flower season is coming to an end but with some luck it could last another few weeks if frost holds off.’
      • ‘Storm clouds threatened throughout the walk, but the sun peeped through occasionally and the rain held off.’
      • ‘In some cases, entire families headed off, picnic in tow, hoping that the rain would hold off.’
      • ‘At least the weather held off this afternoon, and we could run.’
      • ‘Luckily the rain held off until the last game was played.’
      • ‘Hopefully, if the weather holds off for a few more days that might dry the land out enough to allow us to collect the crop some time next week, but if not, then we might find ourselves stuck.’
      • ‘The unsettled conditions over the past few days will almost certainly see the Ouse carrying additional water by Sunday but as long as the frost holds off, this might be no bad thing.’
      • ‘Provided the rain holds off, England should today complete one of their biggest ever wins.’
      • ‘Heavy rain and high winds held off until early Thursday night, when winds gusted to 84 kph.’
      1. 1.1Delay or postpone an action or decision.
        ‘if I was in their shoes, I'd hold off for a couple of days’
        • ‘I thought my restlessness over the break and my inability to get on to any big tasks was evidence of my laziness, but I think it was just holding off until I could really get on to things again at work.’
        • ‘It could be that people are holding off until they know whether there is going to be an appeal.’
        • ‘They admit that they have not left lawmakers with much time, but said holding off until next year, an election year, would hurt the bill's chances even more.’
        • ‘I was barely 18, just out of high school, had no real obligations in my life and I was enjoying the hell out of the freedom that holding off on college afforded me.’
        • ‘An expert working group which reported to the Department of Justice a number of years ago recommended holding off on introducing tagging until more sophisticated technology came on stream.’
        • ‘You will hold off until everything meets with your approval.’
        • ‘Perhaps they're all holding off until next week when I'll have finished for the year.’
        • ‘In the end, the history of economic crises is clear on one important thing: the longer any economy holds off in facing its imbalances, the greater the possibility of a hard landing.’
        • ‘The group agrees to hold off on any real decisions until replacements are hired.’
        • ‘I asked my realtor what he thought; he advised that we hold off until we sold our house.’
        wait, hold back, pause, delay, hang back, hang fire, take no action, bide one's time, play a waiting game
        View synonyms
  • hold on

    • 1often in imperativeWait; stop.

      ‘hold on a minute, I'll be right back!’
      • ‘When he finished telling her his idea, she asked him to hold on a minute and left the room.’
      • ‘It looks safe outside, but they're still telling us that the air is bad, so I'm holding on and waiting for a few days.’
      • ‘But hold on a minute - are we still talking about children's choices here, or our own?’
      • ‘Now just hold on a minute, judgmental John, have you forgotten that this is not the UK?’
      • ‘But hold on a minute, he is having an affair with his secretary because he is famous?’
      wait, wait a minute, just a moment, just a second, stay here, stay put, remain here
      View synonyms
    • 2Endure in difficult circumstances.

      ‘if only they could hold on a little longer’
      • ‘They have been holding on for as long as possible.’
      • ‘It was another of those games where we had to hold on in the dying minutes.’
      • ‘They held on for fifteen minutes before a penalty was awarded close in.’
      • ‘In many ways I think we're holding on just to make it to the cabin.’
      • ‘‘In my circle of friends a few have lost their jobs, but most are holding on tight,’ she said.’
      • ‘We discussed what makes certain people hold on in extreme circumstances.’
      • ‘Jamie Ewart did lash home a deserved second for Whitehill in the very last minute but the visitors held on.’
      • ‘Mark Potts was the club's sole representative in the under-15s race, holding on for a respectable 23rd position.’
      • ‘A late try for Merton made for a frantic last five minutes but Streatham held on for victory.’
      • ‘At the finish they were holding on for dear life and with St. Josephs coming at them in waves Bobby Miller must have been relieved to hear the final whistle.’
      keep going, keep on, survive, last, continue, persevere, struggle on, carry on, go on, hang on, hold out, not give up, see it through, stay the course
      View synonyms
  • hold on to

    • Keep.

      ‘the industry is trying to hold on to experienced staff’
      • ‘Despite holding on to two stars for the past two years, the hospital could not make it three in a row.’
      • ‘She is putting right what has gone wrong in her life and holding on to what is familiar.’
      • ‘Think of all the win bonuses the club has held on to since last July.’
      • ‘It is a book to hold on to, for repeated reference to information and inspiration.’
      • ‘He has four months to prove he is worth holding on to and in that time he hopes to hone his English as well as his football skills.’
      • ‘As far as I know, there are only two ways to hold on to more of your money: earn more or spend less.’
      • ‘Japanese leaders were determined to hold on to what they saw as the critical area of the Pacific theatre.’
      • ‘These are the memories that we will hold on to when we become advanced in age, if we get there.’
      • ‘The correct strategy would then be to hold on to as much territory as possible for as long as possible.’
      • ‘She tries to hold on to as much genuine stuff as she can while pandering to fancier tastes.’
      retain, keep, hang on to, keep possession of, retain possession of, retain use of, retain ownership of, not sell, not give away, keep for oneself
      View synonyms
  • hold out

    • 1Resist or survive in difficult circumstances.

      ‘British troops held out against constant attacks’
      • ‘He failed to capture Tobruk, and for over a year the isolated garrison held out against all attempts to take it.’
      • ‘The only place that held out against the revolution was the Winter Palace, the residence of the former Tsar.’
      • ‘Perhaps he just hasn't the strength of will to hold out, as one might be unable to withstand torture.’
      • ‘Troops controlled by the Roman Catholic bishop set siege to the city but the Anabaptists were able to hold out for 16 months.’
      • ‘What would be the value of a lone survivor, pointlessly holding out in a blighted, boarded-up street?’
      • ‘From 4 August 1900, they defiantly held out for 13 days until finally relieved.’
      • ‘I thought if we hold out for ten more minutes, I'll be happy.’
      • ‘His improvisation and organization helped the British to hold out for 217 days against overwhelming forces.’
      • ‘Ravaged cities continue to hold out against the coalition.’
      • ‘A Japanese invasion from occupied China was not unexpected; the colony had simply been told to hold out for as long as possible.’
      keep going, keep on, survive, last, continue, persevere, struggle on, carry on, go on, hang on, hold out, not give up, see it through, stay the course
      resist, withstand, hold off, fight off, fend off, keep off, keep at bay, stand up to, square up to, fight against, bear up against, stand fast against, stand firm against, hold the line against
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Continue to be sufficient.
        ‘we can stay here for as long as our supplies hold out’
        • ‘The bar's owner, to the delight of his patrons, promised to stay open as long as the power from his generator held out.’
        • ‘We're going to stay here as long as possible, as long as our food supply holds out.’
        • ‘I've bought at least one album every week so far this year, I plan to continue this provided my finances hold out.’
        • ‘She is also expected to break the record for a woman circumnavigating the globe if her mast holds out.’
        • ‘We stayed as long as our air would hold out, headed back to the boat, filled the tanks and within an hour we were all back in the same spot doing it all again.’
        • ‘The only thing to hope for was our emergency oxygen supply would hold out long enough for us to get to a lower altitude.’
        • ‘She knew her crew was getting tired and restless, and the supplies wouldn't hold out forever.’
        • ‘The reconstruction will track the amount of money available from the proceeds of the oil wells, and will continue as long and as far as this money holds out.’
        last, remain, be extant, continue
        View synonyms
  • hold out for

    • Continue to demand (a particular thing), refusing to accept what has been offered.

      ‘he is holding out for a guaranteed 7 per cent rise’
      • ‘He is holding out for more than the million pounds he has been offered to make the film.’
      • ‘He's holding out for more money, thinking someone else is going to give him more than I'm offering.’
      • ‘The workers are holding out for a four per cent pay increase but management have only offered 3.6 per cent.’
      • ‘That means even small companies can hold out for sweeter offers.’
      • ‘She says she was holding out for an offer from the BBC, which she felt would do the best job.’
      • ‘Some reports have said that university teachers are continuing to hold out for two months back pay.’
      • ‘Some are holding out for a higher price, though most are refusing because they prefer to till their patch of land than spend the £28,000 they would receive.’
      • ‘If you have options you can hold out for more money.’
      • ‘It looks increasingly likely that shareholders who had been holding out for more than £6 a share will be disappointed.’
      • ‘She accepted the money after being told she could lose it all if she continued holding out for more.’
  • hold out on

    • Refuse to give something, typically information, to (someone).

      • ‘Because if you're dating that LeeAnne girl and have been holding out on me, I'm gonna kill you!’
      • ‘He's holding out on vital information that we trusted him with.’
      • ‘I know how much it hurt you, and I definitely agree that it would have hurt me too - but it seemed like she was holding out on you before that.’
      • ‘While the British held out on sharing information, it did build the Australian public a consolation prize, a nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in Southern Sydney.’
      • ‘If the economists won't say why the boss makes so much, what else are they holding out on?’
      • ‘Was it wise for me to hold out on information like that?’
      • ‘Little were we to realize, then, that the group has in fact been holding out on us.’
      • ‘They'd know that I was holding out on them, but what did they expect?’
      • ‘I think you've been holding out on me.’
      • ‘I just want to know… why are you holding out on me?’
  • hold something out

    • Offer a chance or hope.

      ‘a new drug may hold out hope for patients with lung cancer’
      • ‘There is at present no cure: but the announcement last week that scientists are developing a potential vaccine, which is undergoing early clinical trials, holds out a ray of hope.’
      • ‘It is a revealing and frightening book, which nevertheless holds out a few strands of hope, provided we can snap out of our trance and start preparing in earnest for the inevitable.’
      • ‘It also holds out the prospect of improved treatments and better techniques of preventing the distressing condition, which affects one in every 500 children.’
      • ‘China holds out the promise of being the most important growth economy in the world outside the United States.’
      • ‘A British breakthrough in stem cell research holds out the prospect that ‘permanent’ brain and nerve damage may one day be reversed.’
      • ‘But an operation that holds out the promise of a more normal life still seems as far away as ever - and in the meantime his condition continues to worsen.’
      • ‘This nineteenth century green man holds out the prophetic possibility of restoration with nature, and in doing so reinforces our own sense of exile from it.’
      • ‘And that at least holds out the possibility that he'll stay - that he could be a winner in the future.’
      • ‘This breakthrough holds out hope of one day developing a new generation of treatments for a disease that claims the lives of 10,000 men every year in the UK alone.’
      • ‘In such dark times, feminism holds out a beacon of hope.’
  • hold something over

    • 1Postpone something.

      ‘the usual family gathering was held over until late January’
      • ‘‘It is possible maybe for one person to hold their funeral over maybe until Monday,’ said Fr O'Sullivan.’
      • ‘The announcement of the final count was held over from the early hours of Sunday morning to allow for the papers to be checked.’
      • ‘I was very keen to ask this question of Mr Hodgson, the Convenor, and I wonder whether I can seek leave to hold it over until I can do that.’
      • ‘The Government will take its chances on business; if we cannot complete it, then that business will be held over until early next year.’
      • ‘The completion of the tarring at the hall and the footpaths to the village will be held over, pending the provision of a new public lighting system and necessary ducting.’
      • ‘The company announced the cuts on Friday of last week, sparking anger from workers who believe the news was held over until Friday to bury it in the aftermath of the election.’
      • ‘A full report on the gathering has been held over due to lack of space.’
      • ‘The movie poll results have been held over until later in the week.’
      • ‘I seek leave to hold this question over until Mr Hawkins is in a position to be in the House to answer it.’
      • ‘Lack of time means I have to hold it over until next week.’
      • ‘I note the Minister of Police is not in the Chamber today and I seek leave of the House to hold this question over until the Minister is present.’
      • ‘A number of letters have been held over until next week.’
      postpone, put off, put back, delay, defer, adjourn, suspend, shelve, hold in abeyance
      View synonyms
    • 2Use a piece of information to threaten or intimidate (someone).

      • ‘She holds this fact over Negi's head as a vague threat, though we're fairly sure she won't intentionally do anything with it.’
      • ‘Frist can hold this threat over the heads of Democrats, who are committed to minimize the use of filibusters.’
      • ‘These are offensive weapons for the purpose of inflicting death on a massive scale, developed so that he can hold the threat over the head of anyone he chooses, in his own region or beyond.’
      • ‘If you think that you're holding some threat over my head, think again.’
      • ‘And also part of the purpose of that statutory provision is to hold a threat over people…’
  • hold together (or hold something together)

    • Remain or cause to remain united.

      ‘if your party holds together, you will probably win’
      • ‘To a degree anticommunism, and with it a ‘strong’ defence policy, gave conservative parties an intellectual glue which held them together.’
      • ‘‘I think the coalition will remain intact because what holds it together is the campaign against terrorism,’ Powell said.’
      • ‘He was the glue that held this coalition government together.’
      • ‘As long as he remains in power he holds the country together and is a bulwark against enemies from outside.’
      • ‘They're holding the party together, but they are passing an agenda that is dividing and polarizing the county.’
      • ‘Somehow on Saturday night he was not only able to remain outwardly cool, but he also held his players together in a tense situation.’
      • ‘Our communities are held together by the generosity inherent in gifting.’
      • ‘He is seen as the only politician really capable of holding the government together.’
      • ‘She was also successful in holding her party together.’
      • ‘I think that our society is held together by respect for these public voicings of commitment.’
  • hold up

    • Remain strong or vigorous.

      ‘the Labour vote held up well’
      • ‘Whether it will hold up under the latest media onslaught remains to be seen.’
      • ‘We will be fine while the building boom holds up but when that slows down there is going to be a hell of a lot of people looking for work.’
      • ‘The counting of postal votes shows 6,000 votes already cast with our vote holding up well.’
      • ‘I also have a sack of the resin on order so that I can make more blanks if I run out of these and the demand holds up.’
      • ‘In-store activity had been holding up well but has suddenly gone very quiet over the past couple of weeks, he told me.’
      • ‘At the last general election the Labour vote held up best in the party's marginal seats.’
      • ‘He says at the moment prices are holding up, just marginally below last year's levels.’
      • ‘I sweat until pretty much every inch of my clothing is soaked, but my energy holds up.’
      • ‘Travis's core heavyside business, which services the jobbing builder, is holding up well.’
  • hold someone/something up

    • 1Support and prevent something from falling.

      ‘concrete pillars hold up the elevated section of the railway’
      • ‘She realized one of the boards holding the mattress up had fallen.’
      • ‘The top half of the building broke free from the rest of the building, and began to grind and sway as the only thing holding it up was crumbling concrete.’
      • ‘Two hits later, the tree was halfway down and quickly falling towards the ground, crushing large amounts of undergrowth on the way, Matthew holding the one end up so as to prevent it from crushing the man he was trying to save.’
      • ‘Aidan wasn't sure his legs would hold him up, but he stood.’
      • ‘Two stone pillars held an arched roof up, which itself was engraved with runes and other types of symbols.’
      • ‘Later that evening our distraught neighbour came round to inform us that this was in fact one of the walls that was holding our building up and that whoever had knocked a hole in it was putting us at risk of collapsing like a pack of cards.’
      • ‘As we were heading down on the platform, we noticed the third monorail track above the platform was held up by column-like supports with ivy wrapped around it.’
      • ‘Since the entire palace was made of alabaster, it hardly needed pillars to hold it up.’
      • ‘They were immediately behind one of the giant metal posts holding up the roof!’
      • ‘Pillars that hold these bridges up are being placed at intervals wider than the old ones, to permit easier water flow.’
      • ‘Four columns held it up for support, and each column had a diameter of no less than ten feet.’
      • ‘The rooftop of the stables was a flat sheet of metal with wooden pillars to hold it up.’
      • ‘Suddenly the heroes felt the floor beneath them shake and they hid behind the pillars that held the ceiling up.’
      • ‘She added that the surface around the grate had got so bad that the brackets holding the grate cover up were exposed and when pedestrians walked on the grate it wobbled.’
      • ‘The boxes that had displayed fruit were scattered in broken pieces around the stand, the cloth roof was torn and two of the posts holding it up were cracked and fallen over.’
      • ‘Hannah's legs seemed to no longer be able to hold her up, and she fell to the floor, shaking violently.’
      • ‘The waiter greeted her in a perky voice and gestured to a sign with the menu written on it hanging from one of the slender stone pillars that held the cloth roof up.’
      • ‘Luckily, one of the posts holding the jetty up was stopping him going any further, otherwise he would have been in trouble.’
      • ‘Pillars seemed to have held the roof up for many years now as the roof was cracked and crumbling.’
      • ‘It looked like the roadway had collapsed, I could see the crumbling remains of the old supports that had held it up.’
      support, hold, bear, carry, take, sustain, keep up, prop up, bolster up, shore up, buttress
      View synonyms
    • 2Display something by holding it above one's waist or head.

      ‘he held up the book so she could see the cover’
      • ‘Walking out I see Billie with a cheesey grin on holding up my crutches.’
      • ‘Some are just sitting picking away at their work, others standing holding up their latest creations.’
      • ‘Catching view of her father's puzzled look Kerri came to the realization that she was standing on the table holding her spoon up in the air.’
      • ‘Once on the plate smaller plates slide out to hold up the sleeves.’
      • ‘Many held up camcorders or cellphones with cameras to capture the scene.’
      • ‘He holds up a copy of the latest bestseller.’
      • ‘But, unable to hold any book up or tilt his head down, he had to cast his eyes down to see the pages.’
      • ‘She held up a beautiful gown made of lace and satin, in white and gray.’
      • ‘Drawing on his acting talents, Charles Dickens holds up a copy of one of his own novels, from which to read to an adoring public.’
      • ‘Sam went outside the airport to look for the person who would hold up a sign saying " Sam Miller ".’
      display, hold aloft, exhibit, show, show off, put on show, present, flourish, flaunt, brandish
      View synonyms
      1. 2.1Present or expose someone or something as an example or for particular treatment.
        ‘they were held up to public ridicule’
        • ‘For over three years Ireland has been held up as a shining example of a rich country that was prepared to contribute more than the rhetoric to the debate on poverty.’
        • ‘For a long time golfers were held up to ridicule for their attempts at fashion.’
        • ‘No diplomat anywhere is likely to turn the other cheek if his president is held up to ridicule in a public forum.’
        • ‘The thing about broad generalizations made about a group of people is that if they are held up to scrutiny they are, more often than not, proved false at their very core.’
        • ‘That can only happen through open political debate, where bigoted views are held up to scrutiny.’
        • ‘The first test of his leadership, when he will be held up to an hour of merciless scrutiny by the electorate, comes next Saturday.’
        • ‘They give high quality care and they are held up as an example of good practice.’
        • ‘Instead it holds up for admiration those who made suffering their art form.’
        • ‘Students from Swindon College were held up as examples for others to follow at the Further Education Research Association Conference.’
        • ‘York will be held up to the rest of the world as an example of hope for the future of the planet.’
    • 3Delay or block the movement or progress of someone or something.

      ‘our return flight was held up for seven hours’
      • ‘It meant a three-day delay in delivery for some wards as the post was held up over the Bank Holiday weekend.’
      • ‘At Luxor airport seven flights were held up while two others were diverted to Cairo airport.’
      • ‘If I had been in that airport and my flight was held up because of these idiots, I would have cheered the police on as they arrested the couple.’
      • ‘I had to wait three hours for the next one and hoped no-one had cursed me for holding the flight up.’
      • ‘This should help prevent the repeat of situations where critical forest thinning projects were held up for years, only to be rendered moot by the flames that agency managers were urgently trying to prevent.’
      • ‘Real medical advances are held up for years or totally blocked by red-tape.’
      • ‘If there is a thunderstorm in Chicago, all the flights in New York are held up.’
      • ‘What is really holding up the further spread of such infrastructure are planning delays.’
      • ‘Mr Reynolds said the application had been held up by discussions on restricting the goods to be sold and a proposal to set up an agreement tying the shop to the farm which he could not sign as he was a tenant and not the farm owner.’
      • ‘One flight was cancelled at Leeds Bradford Airport with delays ranging from 10 to 45 minutes, while 100 flights were held up by up to more than an hour at Manchester Airport.’
      delay, detain, make late, set back, keep back, retard, slow down, slow up
      obstruct, impede, hinder, hamper, inhibit, baulk, thwart, curb, hamstring, frustrate, foil, baffle, be a hindrance to, interfere with, put a brake on, stop
      View synonyms
    • 4Rob someone or something using threats or violence.

      ‘a masked raider held up the post office’
      • ‘He claimed he was held up at knife point during a raid when some two thousand pounds' worth of video equipment was stolen.’
      • ‘A gang of robbers escaped with several million pounds in cash during a raid at Heathrow Airport in which a security van was held up.’
      • ‘While they were heading home, they were held up for a second time by another gang of gunmen.’
      • ‘He told her that he had been held up and his car stolen, and that he had managed to run away with his underwear only.’
      • ‘He was walking to a nearby post office to deposit his takings when he was held up.’
      • ‘The post office and store in Thorpe Road, Kirby Cross, has been shut since the last raid on January 16 after gun-wielding robbers held it up.’
      • ‘Two months ago we were held up by a gunman and the next day people thought we had made it up as a publicity stunt.’
      • ‘Nobody thinks that if criminals cannot get imitation guns they will stop holding people up.’
      • ‘In late September, three canoes carrying fishing supplies were held up by gunmen who seized all goods and abducted the 23 people on board.’
      • ‘Kids are under enormous pressure to collect the whole set and it seems they will do so even if it means stealing them or holding someone up at knifepoint.’
      rob, commit armed robbery on, make an armed raid on
      View synonyms
    • 5Bridge
      Refrain from playing a winning card for tactical reasons.

  • hold with

    • with negativeApprove of.

      ‘I don't hold with fighting or violence’
      • ‘‘I hold with their beliefs that everyone has a right to live a good quality of life,’ explains the year 10 student.’
      • ‘I don't hold with a religious Christmas particularly, I'm not that bothered about presents.’
      • ‘And by the way, I hope this makes it clear that I do not hold with the idea that because a blogger accepted donations that he or she is required to answer to the donors.’
      • ‘He doesn't hold with the cynics who can't accept characters bursting into song at the drop of a hat.’
      • ‘I'll float the hypothesis even if I don't hold with it for one moment.’
      • ‘I don't hold with celebrating particular dates.’
      • ‘Some people call it jogging, but I don't hold with these Americanisms.’
      • ‘He did not see it as making it any more or less difficult for him to be re-elected and did not hold with the argument that three-seat constituencies worked against smaller parties.’
      • ‘I still hold with the view that a bad choice is better than none, and my guess is most others, especially those who have lived under dictatorships would agree.’
      • ‘He admits that Killian had very high standards and didn't hold with pilots not meeting them.’
      approve of, agree with, be in favour of, go along with, endorse, accept, countenance, support, give support to, subscribe to, give one's blessing to, take kindly to
      View synonyms


Old English haldan, healdan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch houden and German halten; the noun is partly from Old Norse hald ‘hold, support, custody’.




Main definitions of hold in English

: hold1hold2



  • A large compartment or space in the lower part of a ship or aircraft in which cargo is stowed.

    • ‘They can stroll to the bar, or perhaps down to a gym on the lower deck, next to the cargo hold.’
    • ‘They have encouraged carry-on bags to cut the time and expense of loading luggage into aircraft holds.’
    • ‘Rameses takes me to the bottom of the ship, to the cargo hold.’
    • ‘Each unit costs a different amount and they also take up a certain amount of space in the cargo hold of the ship.’
    • ‘Some were given spaces in the vast holds of the ship, where they laid down to rest and were asleep in just a few minutes.’
    • ‘‘We just plucked our bags from the hold of the aircraft, and drove off,’ he says.’
    • ‘Parts that had been replaced were scattered on the metal floor in the space that had once been the cargo hold.’
    • ‘I jumped to the ground and headed for the cargo hold, examining my ship on the way.’
    • ‘Senator Kendrix Vincent walked up the gangway into the hold of her ship, the Blue Delphinus.’
    • ‘Most of the emigrants traveled in steerage accommodations, between the upper deck and the cargo hold.’
    • ‘And then some of their cargo showed up, and they were all busy stowing it in the cargo hold.’
    • ‘During travel, insulin should not be put in the luggage hold of an aircraft as it may freeze.’
    • ‘A final doorway led from the galley down to the cargo hold under the ship.’
    • ‘All the bags in the hold of the aircraft were removed and re-scanned, although nothing untoward was detected.’
    • ‘Pushchairs can be wheeled right up to the steps of the aircraft and are then stowed in the hold while the children are carried aboard.’
    • ‘A fire in the engine-room spread to the hold, causing the crew to abandon ship.’
    • ‘They hoist their bags on to the ramp, step up into the back of the aircraft and pass their bags forward to the cargo hold.’
    • ‘The captain walked down to the lower hold of the ship flanked by two bodyguards.’
    • ‘And the huge sliding doors on both sides allow for the kind of access normally offered by the cargo holds of large merchant ships.’
    • ‘The cargo was stowed in the hold.’


Late 16th century: from obsolete holl, from Old English hol (see hole). The addition of -d was due to association with hold.