Main definitions of hold in English

: hold1hold2

hold1

verb

  • 1[with 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’
    • ‘His head's still swimming so he holds on tight to her waist so he doesn't fall.’
    • ‘When he had to enter the lift the next day, he held on tight to his mother's hand.’
    • ‘Her knees were wobbling as she held onto the back of my chair for support.’
    • ‘As he walked towards Pierre a man came from the back holding a huge old leather-bound book.’
    • ‘A small group of supporters gathered outside the hospital holding bouquets of flowers.’
    • ‘Two of them were holding her by the arms while another said she didn't have to say anything.’
    • ‘She looked behind her to see Jeff holding one of the automatics.’
    • ‘They both gathered in the dining room, where Hilkin was standing, holding a large brown bag.’
    • ‘It was the first time he was able to hold his new baby son Joshua.’
    • ‘An older man with white hair followed her, holding a black medical bag in his hand.’
    • ‘Elizabeth looked up to see an adorable girl of about seven holding a small blue ball.’
    • ‘Alex tries to get out of his grasp but that just causes him to hold her even tighter.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the afternoon a banner proclaiming his victory is unrolled and held by supporters.’
    • ‘Adrienne's eyes widen and she struggles not to spill the drink she is holding.’
    • ‘Lexie, hold on to my hand, okay?’
    • ‘The men held tightly onto my arms, I tried to struggle.’
    • ‘I grabbed her in a hug, wrapping my arms around her and holding on tight.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ryan held his mother's hand as he watched her chest rise and fall.’
    • ‘He was holding on so tight I was sure I'd have a bruise on my arm soon.’
    clasp, hold on to, clutch, grasp, grip, clench, cling to, have in one's hand
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object and adverbial] Keep or sustain in a specified position:
      ‘I held the door open for him’
      • ‘Women are held down by the expectations of society.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Smart cards can be programmed so building occupants simply hold a card up to the reader.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A woman claimed she felt herself being held down as she came round from an operation.’
      • ‘But he put his arms around me in an embrace, then held me away to look at me.’
      • ‘Before the advent of modern fastenings, clothes were held together with brooches, or with belts and straps like this one.’
      • ‘As she passed our row, I noticed that her spectacles were held together by generous amounts of sticky tape.’
      • ‘He sniffed haughtily, holding open the door for them and watching as they shuffled past.’
      • ‘He held the rag over her noise and mouth until she slumped over in his arms.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To check proper adjustment hold the trigger back with the grip safety released and work the hammer back and forth.’
      • ‘Weakly she attempted to hold herself upright by clutching at the rough bricks.’
      • ‘When you walk, stay tall with your head and shoulders back; and hold your head up just slightly.’
      • ‘The security men were holding back the crowd to let the shaken minister and the officials get into a waiting car.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Firefighters from Leigh, Hadleigh and Southend were held back by the intense heat and smoke as they tried to battle the blaze.’
    2. 1.2 Embrace (someone):
      ‘Mark pulled her into his arms and held her close’
      • ‘Watching her, I wanted to take her up in my arms, squeeze her, hold her so close the way I used to.’
      • ‘Ray put his arms around me and held me close to him, so I rested my head against his shoulder.’
      • ‘She started to cry, and Dad picked her up, holding her close.’
      • ‘He put his arms around me and held me close; I had never felt so safe in all of my life.’
      • ‘Couples embraced, mothers held their children close, men nodded to each other.’
      • ‘Sam was holding her close, supporting her easily as he gazed down at her, a soft expression on his face.’
      • ‘I put my arms around her and pulled her closer to me, holding her tightly.’
      • ‘When we came up his arms were around me and he was holding me close against his chest.’
      • ‘Instinctively I pulled Danny into my arms and held him close.’
      • ‘As he slowly slides his arms around me, holding me gently in an embrace, I once again start to panic.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He wrapped his arms around me again and held me close to him, kissing me passionately.’
      • ‘After the second kiss they just stayed on the bench holding each other.’
      • ‘His arms tightened around me, holding me even closer, if that was possible.’
      • ‘He cracked a sleepy smile and leant forwards, enveloping me in his arms and holding me tightly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Leaping up from the ground, she threw her arms around him and held him tight.’
      • ‘I didn't resist as he put his arms around my shoulders and held me close to his body.’
      • ‘Young mothers who were pale with fear and shock held their children as close as they could to protect them.’
      • ‘I wanted to hold him close to me and whisper in his ear that he'd be fine.’
      embrace, hug, clasp, cradle, fold, enfold, envelop, squeeze, hold tight, hold in one's arms
      View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘I picked a random room and walked in, not being able to hold Corbin's weight long enough to find his room.’
      • ‘The lock has a heavy-duty level strength rating, meaning it holds more weight.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Makala leaned on him and let him hold most of her weight as he led her upstairs to his apartment.’
      • ‘Several pieces of wood joined together can hold more weight than just a piece of wood.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘It was a good driving experience, though; it held the road well and the steering felt smooth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The car holds the road very, very well at whatever speed I put it to, and I got her up to 110 to 115.’
    5. 1.5 (of a ship or an aircraft) continue to follow (a particular course):
      ‘the ship is holding a south-easterly course’
      • ‘For the moment I held a steady course and kept a focus on the orientation instruments .’
      • ‘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.’
    6. 1.6archaic [no object, with adverbial of direction] Keep going in a particular direction:
      ‘he held on his way, close behind his friend’
  • 2[with 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’
    • ‘A second man being held in custody was released without charge, Lancashire Police said.’
    • ‘He held her prisoner for more than five hours while police surrounded her home.’
    • ‘But the son, who was riding in a separate car, was held hostage at the embassy in Bangkok.’
    • ‘In 1967 he was shot down and he was held as a prisoner-of-war in Hanoi for five-and-a-half years.’
    • ‘Some of those detained are reportedly being held in solitary confinement.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was held first in a prison, then transferred to house arrest in September last year.’
    • ‘Police say he held the woman at gunpoint for about an hour.’
    • ‘Military hearings are under way at the camp to ascertain whether detainees should continue to be held.’
    • ‘He was held in custody overnight, and was being questioned by police yesterday.’
    • ‘We pass under the Bridge of Sighs, which leads into the old prisons where Casanova was once held captive.’
    • ‘He was held in prison for over a year.’
    • ‘The government changed the law at the beginning of last year to allow the police to hold people for 14 days rather than seven.’
    • ‘A police officer was given a national police bravery award for tackling a gunman who was holding his children hostage.’
    • ‘He has been detained by immigration authorities, who can hold him for 48 hours while determining his status.’
    • ‘We were held in a police cell for a week, and some of us were suspended from our jobs.’
    • ‘Police said although the man was unharmed he was held hostage for between three and four hours.’
    • ‘No explanation was given as to why the man was detained or the conditions under which he was held.’
    • ‘Hundreds of political prisoners arrested in previous years continue to be held without trial.’
    • ‘I was held in a cell with 20 other prisoners with no room to manoeuvre.’
    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
    View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Doona struck the first of his two goals ten minutes into the first half, a lead which they held at the break.’
      • ‘The Federal Opposition Leader says her work in the community will ensure she holds on to the seat of Ballarat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This may be the key to why Labour is likely to hold Shipley but lose Finchley to the Tories.’
      • ‘Commanders and their staff sometimes made lethal errors and engaged positions their own men held.’
      • ‘Only the original rebel group which holds the northern half of Ivory Coast is, so far, in talks with the government.’
      • ‘While the party suffered yet another crushing defeat, he was able to hold a safe Labor seat.’
      • ‘Even if the party holds on to the government, the position of the president and his government would be weakened.’
      • ‘Rebels hold the north and loyalist forces the south of what was considered a haven of peace and prosperity until a 1999 coup.’
      • ‘The USA continues to defy the odds by holding on to their slender lead in their Chess Summit match against China.’
      • ‘He also holds the England goalscoring record, getting 49 goals in 106 games.’
      • ‘Thousands of others remain trapped in the northern hills held by the rebels.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2 Keep (someone's interest or attention).
      • ‘Even the election isn't fully holding my interest, and Heaven knows if ever there was an interesting election, this one is it.’
      • ‘You have an ability to concentrate and work intently on anything which holds your interest.’
      • ‘Adverts on the Internet must attract and hold attention, and quickly communicate a positive benefit for the brand.’
      • ‘The spark had gone out of him and what he used to find amusing held no interest for him any longer.’
      • ‘She moved closer to the window to see what had been interesting enough to hold Amber's attention.’
      • ‘Nothing seems to really hold my interest long enough to make me pay enough attention to it.’
      • ‘Sure, we noticed that the election campaign had begun, but it failed to hold our interest for long.’
      • ‘Ailsa glanced at it again, then decided it wasn't interesting enough to hold her attention.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is enough diversity among the songs to hold one's interest but not so much fluctuation that the relaxed mood is disrupted.’
      • ‘After that, though, there wasn't much to hold their interest, and they both sank into a doze.’
      • ‘It was a highly entertaining and competitive match that held the attention of all to the very end.’
      • ‘She can transform the most boring plot into an interesting and informative story, which can hold the attention of any child.’
      • ‘Their curiosity is endless and finding something to do which is engrossing enough to hold their attention for a while is difficult.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Reilly's story, one of loyalty, brotherhood, and dogged determination, captures and holds the reader's attention.’
      • ‘Attracting a crowd and holding its attention is something old media companies could do because they had a distribution stranglehold.’
      • ‘Newspapers, magazines, television and computers all fight to attract and hold our attention.’
      • ‘The menu itself is interesting enough to hold's one attention for several minutes.’
      • ‘It's a strong, surprising show that holds everyone's interest and makes us forget the penetrating chill of the building.’
      maintain, keep, keep up, keep alive, occupy, engross, absorb, interest, captivate, fascinate, enthral, rivet, monopolize
      View synonyms
    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.’
      • ‘Now it's up to von Tetzchner to prove that, like any accomplished tenor, he can hold a note.’
      • ‘A trumpet appears at the end of the song, plucks a note from the air and holds it until I think something will burst.’
      • ‘The singer can't really hold a tune.’
      • ‘I sang, slowing the song right down and holding the note, knowing it would impress people.’
      • ‘Unfortunately for us the singer can actually hold a note, thereby making all of his vocals entirely understandable.’
      • ‘A lone cello holds a plaintive note under acoustic strumming as Rouse intones in a delicate, flaky voice: ‘It's a great world.’’
    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’
      • ‘The change has helped hold down inflation levels even as it promotes global growth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It has been held at that level for the whole time this Government has been in office.’
      • ‘While holding the increase in overall spending to less than 4 percent, the budget proposes increases in several areas.’
      • ‘Rather than cutting spending, it should be held at current levels to create stability in the system.’
      • ‘He said he expects to hold this higher level of spending through next year.’
      • ‘On Wall Street the major averages held steady throughout the day.’
      • ‘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 decision was widely expected by analysts and borrowing costs have now been held at their current levels since the start of June.’
    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’
      • ‘Slovenia scored a priceless away goal and succeeded in holding Croatia to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their playoff.’
      • ‘If Astle had scored England could have come home from Mexico having held the greatest team to have played the game to a draw.’
      • ‘Uzbekistan weathered a storm of China's attacks, holding the host to a scoreless draw in the first half.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Three seasons ago in this cup Berwick held Hearts and went ahead in the replay in Edinburgh only to lose late on.’
      • ‘Keighley Shamrocks also played out a goalless draw as they held Division One leaders Ardsley Celtic at home.’
      • ‘And at the interval they were holding their more illustrious opponents as they went into the break level.’
      • ‘In Africa, Ivory Coast stayed on course for a World Cup debut after holding Libya to a 0-0 draw in Tripoli.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘San Marino were beaten, Croatia were held, and Brown's escapology confounded his critics once more.’
  • 3[no object] Remain secure, intact, or in position without breaking or giving way:

    ‘the boat's anchor would not hold’
    • ‘Coastal defences had held well under the extreme conditions of recent days, the Environment Agency said.’
    • ‘The Oxford defence held firm throughout while James Forrest continually harassed the home defence.’
    • ‘We pray that it continues to hold, otherwise we face the risk of the train detaching itself and rocketing back down through the tunnel.’
    • ‘For some time now, no one has seriously believed those restraints would hold.’
    • ‘Julia stared nervously at the thin cord as it shifted under Asha's weight, fearing the tiny anchor would not hold.’
    • ‘The arches supporting the weight above still held as strong as the day they were built.’
    • ‘Authorities say that so far the timber dam is holding but it could send six feet of water rushing into downtown.’
    1. 3.1 (of a favourable condition or situation) continue without changing:
      ‘let's hope her luck holds’
      • ‘We expect the ceasefire to continue holding in order to enable this process to move forward at a quicker pace.’
      • ‘I hope my luck holds, but finding the coupon was a big enough boost anyway.’
      • ‘The troops are still there, of course, and the peace is still holding.’
      • ‘Croft watched the sky redden and hoped the weather would continue to hold.’
      • ‘According to the most recent reports, the ceasefire seems to be holding.’
      • ‘The ceasefire brokered in the aftermath of the attack is shaky but continues to hold.’
      • ‘Peace has held for six years but political, economic and social life is still on its way to recovery.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For now, however, the ceasefire holds with both sides of the political divide stating their continued commitment to the peace process.’
      • ‘On day three, the weather was continuing to hold, so they sailed about five miles west to the island of Boreray.’
      • ‘So it is back to square one unless the Good Friday Agreement holds.’
      • ‘The Tories are pinning their hopes on a May election and optimistically predict a hung parliament if today's poll findings continue to hold.’
      continue, carry on, go on, hold on, hold out, keep up, keep going, last, persist, endure, stay, remain, remain unchanged
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2 Be or remain valid or available:
      ‘I'll have that coffee now, if the offer still holds’
      • ‘It makes sense as a matter of economics only when several conditions hold.’
      • ‘None of these conditions is likely to hold in the situations we studied.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The association between frequency of heroin use and dependence appears to hold only for males.’
      • ‘In fact, most of the systems in place in medicine were never formally designed, and this holds for the entire process of giving drugs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The old argument that it was necessary to pay these CEOs high salaries in order to retain them no longer holds.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What we want at this meeting is clarification about whether this agreement from 1993 still holds.’
      • ‘But the context usually makes clear which is meant and this argument doesn't hold for all such words.’
      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
      View synonyms
    3. 3.3 (of an argument or theory) be logical, consistent, or convincing:
      ‘their views still seem to hold up extremely well’
      • ‘Possibly she is so in love that she hasn't noticed that her boyfriend's story just doesn't hold together.’
      • ‘And if something travels faster than light Einstein's Theory doesn't hold.’
      • ‘She shows that the upbeat view doesn't hold up in the face of a careful examination of the numbers.’
      • ‘If your argument holds, why are you bothering to say anything here?’
      • ‘To me, it's not terribly important whether or not the theory holds up to scientific scrutiny.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The plot holds together well, featuring a number of laugh-out-loud moments, and some terribly amusing twists.’
      be convincing, be logical, hold, hold water, bear examination, survive investigation, be verifiable, be provable
      View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘It would appear from your report that he holds to his own personal standard of ‘I'll do what I like’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘The Government must ensure the EU holds to this line and does not concede any greater cuts,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Those who hold to the possibility of progress insist that they do because history supports it.’
      • ‘We do not hold to the view that judicial independence means a licence to behave without restraint.’
      • ‘Such is the case with scientists who hold to an evolutionary view of earth history.’
      • ‘But he has a better excuse for holding to this wrongheaded view than do his colleagues.’
      • ‘He has decided that attaining power is more important than holding to his principles.’
      • ‘Anglican arguments prevailed and the Catholics, while holding to their faith, abandoned political resistance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He still holds to the view that progress and religion are inextricably linked in a positive sense.’
      • ‘The secular left holds to a hard-nosed set of moral absolutes.’
      • ‘If MTV holds to this agenda I may be able to watch it again, maybe - some hopeful signs as we enter the new year.’
      • ‘Smith still holds to the view that to return to another Scottish club would be too difficult a proposition.’
    5. 3.5hold someone to[with object] Cause someone to adhere to (a commitment):
      ‘the role of the media ought to be to hold politicians to their promises’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I would have thought the unions' first interest should still be holding James Hardie to the spirit and structure of Friday's announcement.’
      • ‘The U.N. report is simply holding America to its own pledge.’
      • ‘Flood victims will want to hold them to that commitment.’
      • ‘They must expect the electorate to hold them to what they have said.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘It did make a promise that everybody would have access to an NHS dentist and we need to hold them to that.’
      • ‘We'll hold you to that, we'll come back here a year from today, we'll take a look at these predictions.’
      • ‘I believe that we should hold her to that commitment.’
      • ‘In that case it will be up to the more idealistic among us to hold the president to his commitment.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 4[with object] Contain or be capable of containing (a specified amount):

    ‘the tank held twenty-four gallons’
    • ‘Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan big enough to hold everything, including the pears.’
    • ‘Reservoirs could be designed to hold large amounts of water, and make it available during times of severe drought.’
    • ‘Handwoven out of natural straw, the basket is large enough to hold everything for a daily outing.’
    • ‘Parking at the auction centre is free, and there is a car park fronting the road which holds 650 cars.’
    • ‘The average cruise ship holds about 2,000 passengers.’
    • ‘Available in 12 or 24V versions for small and larger commercial vehicle applications, it holds 4.5 litres of water.’
    • ‘The large function room holds up to 200 people and the big screen also features the latest sporting events.’
    • ‘In the rescue call we were told the ship was holding 80 people plus.’
    • ‘DVDs are capable of holding 7 times the amount of space compared to your typical CD.’
    • ‘These dams built on the rivers will be able to hold the entire amount of water during a weak monsoon.’
    • ‘The city has more than 15,000 rooms available and its largest meeting room holds 10,000 delegates.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If my car holds 20 gallons of gas and I put only 10 gallons in it, I can only go half as far.’
    • ‘The aircraft can hold more than 400, and the crew was worried they might not have a job when they got home.’
    • ‘In a room that holds 3,000, there were people crammed into every available space.’
    • ‘Each container is able to hold a large amount of plastic garbage bags.’
    • ‘My lungs feel like they have suddenly compressed and aren't big enough to hold an adequate amount of oxygen.’
    • ‘He pulled his gym bag from under his bed, thinking that it would be big enough to hold everything for the next two days.’
    • ‘He was in a tiny office that could barely hold the three desks crammed inside.’
    have a capacity of, take, have room for, have space for, contain, comprise
    View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘Jake was famous for not being able to hold his drink.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some men may not want to hear this, but scientists have found women are better at holding their drink.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 4.2 Have or be characterized by:
      ‘I don't know what the future holds’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We live in interesting times, which hold some of the greatest challenges the human race as a whole will have ever faced.’
      • ‘Once more the computer was produced to show me what the future held, based on a range of percentage growth projections.’
      • ‘This theory holds even more truth today because with the amount of mixed and confusing messages regarding health and fitness, most consumers are confused.’
      • ‘It is the present and the future which hold much more interest.’
      • ‘I personally am looking forward to staying there as it holds a very special place in my heart.’
      • ‘What lessons do you think this holds for modern day musicians who have easy access to far superior equipment?’
      • ‘Nevertheless, this biography of Theodore Swann holds something of interest for everyone.’
      • ‘The future of nursing holds a myriad of challenges.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But for Pauline every working day holds fears of another attack, after armed robbers targeted the business for the fourth time in seven months.’
      • ‘While this ‘brave new world’ represents great challenges, it also holds the promise of great rewards.’
      • ‘They know the extreme importance exchange rate stability holds for future inflationary movements.’
      • ‘Language thus holds the key to challenging and changing male hegemony.’
      • ‘A verbal agreement can hold more weight than, or even entirely supercede, a written one.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Of course, like anything in the future, this holds terrifying possibilities.’
      • ‘When all you could remember was captivity, freedom didn't hold that much appeal.’
      • ‘For fans of acoustic blues, the concert calendar hasn't held this much promise in years.’
  • 5[with object] Have in one's possession:

    ‘the managing director still holds fifty shares in the company’
    • ‘Huawei has been gradually accumulating its stake in Sunday since last year and now holds a 7.11 per cent interest.’
    • ‘Baker holds a significant financial interest in the company.’
    • ‘He holds Bank of Ireland shares worth almost €4m.’
    • ‘They will probably emerge holding a far greater share of the market, with two or three undisputed leaders in most sectors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She holds a B.A. in music education from Greenville College and an M.A. in religion from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Millions of former Abbey shareholders now hold Banco Santander shares.’
    • ‘Glaxo holds the largest share of the worldwide pharmaceuticals market.’
    • ‘An increased cash bid may win the support of KPN, the Dutch telco that holds a 21% stake in Eircom.’
    • ‘The defendants have paid settlement funds to Mr. Mann and they continue to be held in trust.’
    • ‘Fuel costs have added to concerns, but there are indications that the worst may be over for investors holding Ryanair shares.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We were shown a written statement from one ex - member who remains terrified by the information the Church holds on him.’
    • ‘He of course holds an All Ireland winner's medal from 1978.’
    • ‘Each director shall hold one voting share in the company.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, these are high-risk trusts and the shares must be held for five years.’
    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’
      • ‘In 1965 she became a judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the first woman in Australia to hold such a position.’
      • ‘She's vying to become the first person from Saudi Arabia to hold elected office in this country.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By 1543 he had been appointed a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, a position he held for the rest of his life.’
      • ‘She held that position for more than 20 years, during which time she served on a number of public bodies.’
      • ‘The nobility held the highest positions in the Church, the army and the government.’
      • ‘Johnson held various temporary positions around Cambridge for the next 19 years.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lady Thatcher launched a stinging attack on Mr Clarke, who held a string of Cabinet posts in her governments.’
      • ‘He died of a heart attack, having held office for only one year and five months.’
      • ‘Both of her parents were mayors of Sligo - her mother was the first woman ever to hold that position.’
      • ‘As Professor he received 40 per year and was not allowed to hold any other positions inside the College or University.’
      • ‘And of course there is nothing to stop conductors holding two such appointments simultaneously.’
      • ‘Women commonly hold both an office or factory job and the job of managing the household.’
      • ‘If nothing else, it's past time for a Hispanic to hold such a high office of state.’
      • ‘Although ranked below the chief and chairman, a secretary holds a highly respected position.’
      • ‘His younger brother, Alfred, would hold this same office five years later.’
      • ‘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.’
      occupy, have, be in, fill
      View synonyms
    3. 5.3[with 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lavoisier's belief reveals that he still held a somewhat traditional view of elements.’
      • ‘It's a view the parish council holds to this day - and one with which the Highways Agency agreed.’
      • ‘I also hold that the conditions under which animals are kept and hunted are morally wrong.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, all too many parents and coaches hold the same view about youth soccer.’
      • ‘You may or may not hold these as values, but that is beside the point.’
      • ‘That theory holds that the universe was created 10 to 20 billion years ago when a cosmic explosion hurled matter in all directions.’
      • ‘What we get from him is an attack on anyone who holds views that are different to his.’
      • ‘I did not believe in God, in Jesus, in any doctrine the church holds to be true.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is a subject on which Evangelicals hold differing opinions.’
      • ‘My observations are that unethical, immoral college students tend to hold those same personal values for most of their lives.’
      • ‘Ceasing to express a political opinion doesn't mean you stop holding it.’
      • ‘The findings of the survey challenge the belief held by many teachers that parents are behind a child's bad behaviour.’
      • ‘But I also hold the very strong view that republicans need to lead by example.’
      • ‘His analysis holds that nurses have the greatest knowledge and least authority when it comes to patient care.’
      • ‘Only 24 hours later, few within the party itself could pretend to hold such an optimistic opinion on the future of their leader.’
      believe, think, consider, take the view, feel, maintain, swear, deem, be of the opinion, subscribe to the opinion
      View synonyms
    4. 5.4[with object and complement] Consider (someone) to be responsible or liable for a particular situation:
      ‘you can't hold yourself responsible for what happened’
      • ‘Nor can he be held entirely responsible for the inadequacy of the flood defences, despite a specific warning well in advance.’
      • ‘He holds the lawyer responsible for the death of his sister.’
      • ‘All we are doing is holding the Minister of Police to account for the answer he gave in this House yesterday.’
      • ‘Mr Maharey does not want to be held to account for what was said.’
      • ‘At campuses across the country he inspired young people to form their own public citizen's groups holding corporate America to account.’
      • ‘Must courts hold mothers accountable when they make false statements regarding paternity?’
      • ‘The law does hold people responsible for failing to act if they are under a legal obligation to do so.’
      • ‘The trial judge held the defendants liable for failing to close down that part of the factory.’
      • ‘In some countries the law states that if underage youngsters break the law the parents are held responsible too.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If he is a fraudster, then those who supported him must be held accountable for doing so.’
      • ‘Such people seem to be holding me responsible for the actions of others.’
      • ‘Canadian law recognizes exceptional situations where an officer or director can be held liable.’
      • ‘They did not hold their doctors responsible for what they perceived to be a consequence of the scarcity of resources in the NHS.’
      • ‘I say to the Minister that we on this side of the House will hold him responsible for any loss of life.’
      • ‘It's time to hold our elected officials responsible for what's happening in our hospitals.’
      • ‘Directors will be held accountable for what they know and what they should know.’
      • ‘The courts are increasingly holding employers responsible for maintaining a safe workplace.’
      • ‘At the most recent inquiry, however, it seems that a jury decided that the policemen should be held accountable.’
    5. 5.5hold someone/thing in Regard someone or something with (a specified feeling):
      ‘the speed limit is held in contempt by many drivers’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was a friendly and caring lady and was held in very high esteem.’
      • ‘The Russian nobility remained aloof from the business élite, and was held in contempt by the intelligentsia.’
      • ‘I find it interesting that throughout the world church culture holds Christian musicians in high regard.’
      • ‘Even though he held business in contempt - as would any right-thinking, left-leaning humanities professor - the marketplace intrigued him.’
      • ‘This 30-track anthology explains just why so many of his contemporaries hold Reilly in such regard.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such societies are held in relatively low regard by the college authorities.’
      • ‘All the episode proved was that he did not hold managers in high regard.’
      • ‘As an MSP, he is held in great affection by the people of North Tayside.’
      • ‘I know that police officers are held, in the main, in very high esteem by society because society depends on them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So why is it that journalists are held in even lower regard by the general public than politicians?’
      • ‘We hold teachers in high regard, up there with scientists, doctors and military officers.’
      • ‘The political system, riddled with corruption, is held in increasing public contempt.’
      • ‘McLellan holds his predecessor in high regard and acknowledges Fairweather raised the profile and importance of the office.’
    6. 5.6[with 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 judge held that they should have approached the Law Society for assistance at a much earlier stage.’
      • ‘The Court of Appeal held that the judge was correct to take this approach.’
      • ‘The judge held that there was no financial inducement which led Watford to accept the relevant contract term.’
      • ‘The judge held that the trust ended as soon as the money was paid into court.’
      • ‘Kingston holds that there is no defence available and D is therefore convicted on the basis of his intention or recklessness.’
      • ‘The great weight of judicial precedent holds that there is no fundamental individual right to own a gun.’
      • ‘It is not entirely clear to me in what respects the judge held Mr Skinner to have been negligent.’
      • ‘This court held that the claimants were entitled to the cost of repairs.’
      • ‘The judge held that each of the appellants was personally responsible for the misleading accounts.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In fact, one of the South Australian single judges held that there was no jurisdiction.’
      • ‘The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge was justified in making that decision.’
      • ‘The Registrar held that Lloyd's refusal of the offer that they had made was not unreasonable.’
      • ‘Once again the Court of Appeal held that no such retrospective application of section 3 was possible.’
      • ‘The judge held that the reinsurers could not withhold approval unless there were reasonable grounds for doing so.’
      • ‘The Court of Appeal held that he was not entitled to make that amendment.’
      • ‘In the event, the judge held that the decision was not perverse and he dismissed the appeal.’
      • ‘The Court of Appeal held that the defendant bank had acted without negligence.’
      • ‘If each of the drivers were alive and neither chose to give evidence, the court would unhesitatingly hold that both were to blame.’
      • ‘On appeal the Court of Appeal held that the judge had properly allowed the evidence of the interviews to be given.’
  • 6[with object] Keep or reserve for someone:

    ‘a booking can be held for twenty-four hours’
    • ‘Mr Fellows said that the office's mail had been held by the Post Office over Christmas and delivered on Monday.’
    • ‘I asked one of the salespeople to hold it for me, and then I went back later and bought it.’
    • ‘Five years later she is worth £15 million - money that is held in a trust until she is 21.’
    • ‘Of the nineteen planes, five would be held in reserve during the attacks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Much of the money was being held in reserve to help pay for a new sports hall.’
    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?’
      • ‘Please hold and your call will be answered as soon as possible.’
      • ‘Oh hello Stephanie, can you hold the line a moment and I'll go and find him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’’
  • 7[with object] Prevent from going ahead or occurring:

    ‘hold your fire!’
    • ‘‘Hold your fire until I say otherwise,’ he ordered.’
    • ‘The pilot was under orders to hold fire, a fellow airman testified yesterday.’
    • ‘Analysts expect the company to hold fire on any further price rises.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was certainly not the kind of news for which editors hold the front page.’
    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.’
      • ‘Add a slice of cheese to your sandwich, but hold the mayonnaise.’
      • ‘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?’
    2. 7.2hold itinformal Wait or stop doing something:
      ‘hold it right there, mate!’
      • ‘‘Whoa, hold it a minute,’ Mike said, sitting up straight in his chair.’
      • ‘Hold it right there. No one's going anywhere.’
      • ‘Hold it! Something doesn't sound right.’
    3. 7.3archaic [no object] Restrain oneself:
      ‘‘Hold, hold!’ he cried’
  • 8[with object] Arrange and take part in (a meeting or conversation):

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

noun

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

    ‘he caught hold of her arm’
    ‘he lost his hold and fell’
    • ‘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 slipped, caught hold of the back of a chair, and sat down on the floor, heavily.’
    • ‘He kept tight hold of her hand, then released it and put his arm about her waist.’
    • ‘A policeman caught hold of him and dragged him over the fence to safety, leaving him with nothing more serious than bruises.’
    • ‘I patted his neck, which was damp with sweat, and loosened my hold on the reins.’
    • ‘Lydia stands, but George keeps a firm hold of her hand for a moment longer.’
    • ‘I tightened my hold around her waist a little and kissed the top of her head.’
    • ‘Victoria reached up and grabbed hold of her younger sister's wrist.’
    • ‘As they fought she grabbed hold of the mask and tore it off his face.’
    • ‘I've always had my suspicions regarding Desmond's apparently tenuous hold on reality.’
    • ‘The woman fell trying in vain to keep hold of the bag.’
    • ‘O'Connell said they had eased their hold on him when he stopped struggling.’
    • ‘Without another thought Royce clambered out the window, keeping a tight hold on the makeshift rope.’
    • ‘As she struggled to keep hold of the bag she was kicked three times in the stomach before the group of four fled.’
    • ‘Keeping hold of the ball was one of England's problems during the World Cup.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Make certain that you keep hold of the receipts.’
    • ‘He slid down slowly and Cora, alarmed, caught hold of him around the waist.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They both grabbed hold of the handles, and began to open the enormous doors.’
    • ‘Taking hold of the doorknob Tommy slowly began to open the door.’
    grip, grasp, clasp, clutch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A particular way of grasping or restraining someone, especially an opponent in wrestling or judo.
      • ‘Older boys are using wrestling holds to intimidate younger students.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘I pulled myself up to the next hold and continued up for about five feet.’
      • ‘When climbing, our feet should be placed securely in a hold before placing our hands.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Try to position your hands and feet on the holds in the positions you will want them in for the next move.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He set his feet firmly apart and reaching forward, gripped the rough holds.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She walked over to the pillar, and put her foot on one of the holds.’
      • ‘Placing my hands gingerly upon the first holds and locating the proper foot placement, I commence with my climb.’
  • 2[in singular] Power or control:

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

Phrases

  • be left holding the baby (or north americanbag)

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

      • ‘At the time, there were few, if any, construction or safety standards and the consumer was 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.’
      • ‘When the bubble burst, their shareholders were left holding the bag.’
      • ‘Yes, we are interested in helping, but we don't want 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.’
      • ‘Ultimately our soldiers are the ones left holding the bag.’
      • ‘Doctors may be feeling as though they were left holding the bag.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I don't think Craven District Council should be left holding the baby on its own,’ he said.’
      • ‘Everyone agrees that it shouldn't have happened but no one wants to be left holding the baby.’
  • get hold of

    • 1Grasp physically.

      • ‘I grabbed my camera, missed, and got hold of Graham's camera instead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I couldn't see so all I did was grab thin air until I got hold of them and got them out together.’
      • ‘One fireman seemed to get hold of him then he seemed to slip from his grasp.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.
        • ‘If this doesn't make sense to you (it took me a while to get hold of the idea) don't worry.’
        • ‘Once you get hold of the concept, you just need to use a bit of common sense to tackle tricky questions.’
      2. 1.2informal Obtain:
        ‘if you can't get hold of ripe tomatoes, add some tomato puree’
        • ‘The difficulties lie less in getting hold of information, but in being able to understand it and assess its relevance.’
        • ‘It is very easy for young people to get hold of their parents' credit cards or to acquire credit cards by other means.’
        • ‘Don's unique selling proposition was that he managed to get hold of the question papers well before the exams were held.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Robert had a gift for acquiring guarded information that no one else could get hold of.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘It is a mystery how the fraudsters managed to get hold of the couple's address in Britain.’
        • ‘A thief managed to get hold of their private PIN number to raid their account.’
        • ‘We managed to get hold of two bottles of whiskey for 30 dollars.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Eventually, she managed to get hold of neighbours who rushed her to hospital.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘We managed to get hold of someone at the company in order to explain to us how this concept works.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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 someone/thing at bay

  • 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.’
      • ‘"I got done for holding the ball quite a bit," he said.’
      • ‘The player was caught holding the ball.’
      • ‘I have identified holding the ball in the cases where apparently identical breaches went unpenalised.’
      • ‘He tried to balk and twist around somebody and got caught holding the ball, and the umpires pay the free kick.’
      • ‘They defeated a Victorian representative side by 73 points in a practice match on Sunday but were caught holding the ball on several occasions.’
      • ‘The team needed a contentious holding the ball free kick.’
      • ‘He was pinged holding the ball inside the defensive 50m.’
      • ‘His tackling won three holding the ball decisions.’
      • ‘The suspension is confusing as he was awarded a free kick for holding the ball from the now-penalised tackle.’
  • hold one's breath

    • 1Cease breathing temporarily:

      ‘he held his breath under the water’
      • ‘Most often, when we are overly frightened, we either breathe much too quickly or we hold our breath.’
      • ‘He held his breath, afraid to breathe or make any noise.’
      • ‘Don't inhale deeply or hold your breath, just breathe normally.’
      • ‘When it ends, you realise that you've been holding your breath and, finally, exhale.’
      • ‘You want to hold your breath, because it just doesn't feel healthy breathing it in.’
      • ‘There was a squeal of laughter and Maple breathed out, unaware until now that she'd been holding her breath.’
      • ‘This test involves breathing normally then holding your breath for as long as is comfortable.’
      • ‘Performers may hold their breath or breathe rapidly and shallowly from the upper chest.’
      • ‘Remember to try tightening all your muscles, holding your breath, or breathing heavy.’
      • ‘Don't hold your breath when you lift heavy weights.’
      1. 1.1Be in a state of suspense or anticipation:
        ‘France held its breath while the Senate chose its new president’
        • ‘The answer, in case you were holding your breath, was a pretty resounding no.’
        • ‘We've been having an academic discussion and holding our breath in this area for several years.’
        • ‘I know you've all been waiting for me while holding your breath in anticipation of some sort of great leader, but I'm not.’
        • ‘There are still a lot of people holding their breath, wondering how this launch will go.’
        • ‘We were really holding our breath throughout this entire production.’
  • hold someone/thing 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • hold court

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

      ‘Lewis was holding court in the small dressing room’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Mum Brenda always holds court at family gatherings.’
      • ‘Amazingly tall and thin, she oozes charm from every pore, holding court beside the director of the film.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fifteen minutes later, he was already holding court with a crowd of reporters, fielding questions without being out of breath.’
      • ‘Stumbling inadvertently into the press conference for the women's singles winner, I found Venus Williams holding court to all of 12 journalists.’
      • ‘He has just come in from training, lounging easily in the kitchen of their fabulous new pavilion, arms folded, holding court.’
      • ‘He rarely wrote letters, conducting his business on the telephone or, more often, holding court in public houses, where he was an unrivalled raconteur.’
      • ‘He would often be seen holding court in Swindon's clubs.’
  • hold someone/thing dear

    • Care for or value someone or something greatly:

      ‘fidelity is something most of us hold dear’
      • ‘It is in those moments when we face our fears that laughter is especially welcome, and comic and tender memories are held 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We are all the results of our histories and as such we should hold our heritage dear.’
      • ‘It is a gift from them to us, and we must indeed hold it 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you are to attain the position of emperor, you must hold your people dear.’
      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
      put on a pedestal
      cherish, treasure, prize, value highly
      View synonyms
  • hold fast

    • 1Remain tightly secured:

      ‘the door held fast, obviously locked’
      • ‘The barrier held fast against the attack.’
      • ‘The door holds fast for just a moment before giving, groaning its displeasure at the shabby treatment it has recently received.’
      • ‘He tried prying open the trunk, but the lock held fast, and he only succeeded in bending the lid slightly.’
      • ‘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’
        • ‘He held fast to his love of God and remained ever positive.’
        • ‘We hold fast to our commitment to be better dads than our own.’
        • ‘Compassionate conservatives need to hold fast to this optimistic message.’
        • ‘On the other hand, faith changes those who hold fast to their beliefs.’
        • ‘I, for one, try to hold fast to the Bible and it's principles.’
        • ‘More than 10 years down the track, I hold fast to that maxim.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
  • hold the field

    • Remain the most important:

      ‘the principles of quantum theory hold the field as the convincing account of the physics of the microworld’
      • ‘Caesar and Tacitus's miserablist view of the natives still, incredibly, holds the field.’
      • ‘Attacked and defended by a thousand politicians and pamphleteers, it has held the field as the only theory which provides an intelligible, self-consistent, workable system.’
      • ‘Churchill's own World War II memoirs, appearing shortly after the war and bolstered by large quantities of official documents, held the field for many years in shaping popular as well as scholarly understanding of the war.’
      • ‘Generalisations of doubtful validity still hold the field in many instances, crying out for a new generation of detectives, scholars, and writers.’
      • ‘Ussher was a distinguished scholar, contributing to early Irish history and biblical chronology: his argument that the world was created in 4004 bc held the field for decades.’
      • ‘A slightly Oval-processed electric piano opens ‘TTV,’ but it's the malfunctioning, algorithmic percussion that holds the field before Cooper and Eustis let a solo flute furnish the track with sentimental elegance.’
      • ‘In Tacitus's obituary he is an unamiable novus homo (first man of his family to reach the consulship); the view that he was identical with Quintus Curtius Rufus, the historian of Alexander the Great, now holds the field.’
      • ‘With so many other players holding the field, the inherently weak powers of the state engineer gave him little power to direct negotiations.’
      • ‘After 1696 Sternhold and Hopkins was spoken of as the ‘Old Version’ and Tate and Brady as the ‘New Version’, and this ‘New Version’ (or, rather, the two versions together) held the field right up to the introduction of the modern hymnbook.’
      • ‘It was primarily a qualitative system holding the field against both mathematical astronomers and Paracelsian chemists.’
  • hold the fort

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘As the strike continues, four heads of department are holding the fort.’
      • ‘Sue asks her colleague to hold the fort while she pops outside for a moment.’
      • ‘Without her holding the fort at the office and doing all the paperwork, we'd never be able to do it all.’
      • ‘The Lord Chancellor had been left to hold the fort.’
      stand in, fill in, act as stand-in, deputize, act as deputy, substitute, act as substitute, take over, be a substitute
      take someone's place, act in someone's place, do duty, do a locum, be a locum, sit in, understudy
      step into the breach
      fill someone's boots, fill someone's shoes
      pinch-hit
      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.’
      • ‘If I had to live on my writing I would have starved by now and this I think holds true for most writers.’
      • ‘Lord Acton's dictum that absolute power corrupts absolutely holds good today.’
      • ‘The world has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and some advice given years ago would no longer hold true today.’
      • ‘So far his prediction has held good and I am confident that it that it will remain so.’
      • ‘This especially holds true if local owners of commercial and residential properties do not want to rebuild in the disaster area.’
      • ‘He said the maxim, prevention is better than cure, holds true in agriculture as in human health.’
      • ‘The old trade union maxim still holds true: United we stand, divided we fall.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Whether these findings on exercise motivation hold true for humans remains to be studied.’
  • hold one's ground

  • hold someone's hand

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

      • ‘It isn't like an American or British detective series where the solicitor sits in and holds your hand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Athletes cannot breathe these days without an agent holding their hand and going, ‘There, there’.’
      • ‘It helps if someone holds your hand and sort of walks you through the day, which someone did.’
      • ‘In the game nobody watches you and holds your hand and tells you what is what.’
      • ‘You're a big girl, and you can handle stuff without a friend holding your hand.’
      • ‘If these actors are going to make it, they will do so without the drama society holding their hand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm aware that when I go places there isn't someone with me holding my hand.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘We would hold hands, or wrap our arms around each other while taking a stroll on the sea wall.’
      • ‘They walked around the shopping centre holding hands, and staring at each other lovingly.’
      • ‘The thing that really gets me is their intimate behaviour, sitting close together and holding hands.’
      • ‘People skate in couples or larger groups, tightly holding hands and trying to keep balance.’
      • ‘Two friends engulfed in grief held hands helping each other through the difficult time.’
      • ‘Almost four hundred years later it still is the awe inspiring place where lovers hold hands and swoon over each other.’
      • ‘On the train, a couple sits together, holding hands and speaking in hushed voices.’
      • ‘Once in a while young couples can be seen walking the streets holding hands.’
      • ‘Friends of the same sex may hold hands and greet each other with kisses on the cheek.’
  • hold hard

    • [as imperative]Stop 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/thing harmless

    • Indemnify someone or something.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • hold one's horses

    • informal [usually as imperative]Wait a moment.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ok, ok, hold your horses, you just finished a big game, you should be tired.’
      • ‘But hold your horses - some already have their tickets.’
      • ‘Well, hold your horses, because this disc is hardly worth a King's ransom.’
      • ‘‘OK, OK, hold your horses… ‘she started to say as everyone headed for the door.’
      • ‘There are a number of reasons, and if they just hold their horses for a moment, I shall explain those reasons to them.’
      • ‘‘Whoa, hold your horses buddy,’ I said raising my eyebrow.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • hold the line

    • Not yield to the pressure of a difficult situation:

      ‘France's central bank would hold the line’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He's for keeping middle-class tax cuts and holding the line on free trade.’
      • ‘Lawmakers should hold the line against their demands.’
      • ‘Every other Labour government has seen big unions holding the line against radical constituencies.’
      • ‘Over the years critics have noted that Terry often found it difficult to hold the line on a budget.’
      • ‘I think that he is sticking to his word and holding the line on the tax cuts that he promised to give.’
      • ‘Most parents already find it difficult to hold the line.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For its part, the British government has tried to hold the line against hysteria and appear reasonable, issuing a new ‘don't panic’ message.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Umpires and everyone, does anyone have a clear idea of the rule about "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.’
  • hold one's nose

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

      • ‘It had a really dodgy smell and Isabel had to hold her nose to prevent herself from inhaling it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They would hold their nose against the smell and try their luck to find any hidden piece of food or treasure in their pockets.’
      • ‘Tania is holding her nose against the smell of urine and all are dressed warmly to beat the cold.’
      • ‘And it doesn't stink, so you don't have to worry about holding your nose while you apply 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She backed up slightly holding her nose at the horrid smell that reached her nostrils.’
      • ‘‘Yeah, and take a shower and make sure you brush your teeth, you smell’ Trey said, holding his nose.’
      • ‘Joey had to blow onto his fingers, and hold his nose, at the same time.’
  • hold one's own

    • Retain a position of strength in a challenging situation:

      ‘Britain has begun to hold its own in world markets’
      • ‘There is also the bonus that Scottish players are again beginning to hold their own in terms of quality.’
      • ‘He hangs in against tough lefthanders, so he can hold his own in late-inning situations against specialists.’
      • ‘Singing with her mother, Reshma's daughter also managed to hold her own by singing solo too.’
      • ‘Smith has good upper-body strength and held his own against some of the tougher tackles in the division.’
      • ‘For one so young, she manages to hold her own against the old pro with an alluring combination of confidence and vulnerability.’
      • ‘Troy had about forty pounds of almost pure muscle on her but despite his advantage of experience and strength Kari was holding her own.’
      • ‘Since he took up the sport he has always had to fight older children, but has managed to hold his own.’
      • ‘If you become skilled, you'll hold your own in almost any situation.’
      • ‘And I always like the challenge of trying to hold my own with a fellow competitor.’
      • ‘Having said that there are five strong personalities in the contest and I am confident that with good vote management we can still hold our own.’
      stand firm, stand one's ground, keep one's position, maintain one's position, keep one's end up, keep one's head above water, compete, survive, manage, cope, get through, get on, get along, get by
      View synonyms
  • hold one's peace

    • Remain silent about something:

      ‘he nodded indulgently at such pertness and obstinacy, but held his peace’
      • ‘At this stage I believe a reviewer should hold his peace, at least until his readers can get to see the movie.’
      • ‘At present I am biding my time, and holding my peace.’
      • ‘Too many, however, held their peace, at least until the next atrocity.’
      • ‘So please, if anyone has any ideas, anything at all, please share now or forever hold your peace.’
      • ‘It was starting to become annoying, but I tried to hold my peace.’
      • ‘When a reviewer has had his say about a book, by and large he should thereafter hold his peace.’
      • ‘Crew members growled unintelligible threats beneath their breath, yet held their peace.’
      • ‘So you had best hold your peace and bide your time.’
      • ‘But I'll admit, it was great to see him happy, so I held my peace.’
      • ‘I held my peace, knowing sadly that she spoke the truth.’
  • hold (one's) serve (or service)

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

      • ‘The two then held serve to force a tiebreak, although Venus had to save one set point during the 12 th game.’
      • ‘Both held serve again easily and then Roddick stepped up the line and served for the first set.’
      • ‘The Argentina team had problems holding serve and the Swedes were eager to finish the match in four sets.’
      • ‘They then recorded a second break point for the 5-3 advantage and held serve for the victory.’
      • ‘She dominated the second game, only giving up one point, to hold serve and take a 2-0 lead.’
      • ‘Murray took the first three games of the second set unanswered, breaking Lee once and holding serve twice.’
      • ‘Indeed, he never looked comfortable in the early going, barely managing to hold serve twice.’
      • ‘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.’
  • hold the stage

    • Dominate a scene of action or forum of debate:

      ‘the notion of treatment by opposites has held the stage for too long’
      • ‘Diana Quick holds the stage as the formidable Mrs Clandon and starts, to my eyes anyway, as a decent, solid figure, easily imagined at a suffragette demonstration - her place in world carved out by her own determined efforts.’
      • ‘Waterford holds the stage in the southern half of the country this weekend with the final of the Aer Rianta Cork Airport Munster Oaks tomorrow night.’
      • ‘She held the stage like few solo singers can with her spellbinding vocals and her guitar work which combined rhythm and lead work.’
      • ‘Heng holds the stage effortlessly, though in the first act he is sometimes hard to hear.’
      • ‘Eclipsed by rival works of greater originality, specifically those of Birtwistle, Hamilton's operas failed in the longer term to hold the stage, despite the quantity of fine music they undoubtedly contain.’
      • ‘These fresh-faced kids held the stage without flashy gimmickry, histrionics or rock star poses, relying instead on their songs and musicianship to do their talking for them.’
      • ‘Tebaldi held the stage for a quarter of a century, from a 1946 Toscanini audition at La Scala to a Met farewell in 1973, when she was 54.’
      • ‘They were self-effacing enough to let the singer shine while weaving complicated counterpoints behind her lead, but quite capable of holding the stage on their own when it came time to.’
      • ‘Through that experience, I learned there was a special set of skills required for a dancer to be able to hold the stage alone.’
      • ‘Luhrmann's wife and constant collaborator, the designer Catherine Martin, has given it majestic sets and striking, 1950s-style costumes that would hold the stage of any opera house in the world.’
  • hold sway

    • Have great power or influence over a particular person, place, or domain:

      ‘they had held sway in France for a quarter of a century’
      ‘such arguments would not hold sway in a university’
      • ‘This argument seemed to hold sway during the first trial.’
      • ‘Ultimately, it is because the influences holding sway are far deeper than simply editorial decisions about how journalists cover particular stories.’
      • ‘Not only does this oligarchy of permanent interests (or call it ‘elite consensus’) control all levers of power, it also holds sway over the country's resources.’
      • ‘Andalucia is a traditional, rural society where, despite all evidence of macho posturing, the power of the matriarch holds sway.’
      • ‘He refers to many developments in ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue over the past 50 years; he demonstrates how a broad, tolerant religious view now holds sway in the corridors of power.’
      • ‘For many of us, long before we begin to appreciate other fine things, the power of baked goods already holds sway, largely due to the aroma that wafts out of neighbourhood bakeries.’
      • ‘But at his loft the power of the image holds sway, as the dominating painting of a laughing, mocking clown quickly makes clear.’
      • ‘Analysts, however, said the plan was in fact doomed by bureaucratic infighting for control over State Power, which reportedly holds sway over one-sixth of all state assets.’
      • ‘The notion of Chinese-Indonesians holding economic power has held sway for as long as the nation's history, particularly since the colonial era.’
      • ‘Some of us would say it was always an aberration, but it did hold sway for a while under the Chief Justice's influence.’
      hold power, wield power, exercise power, rule, be most powerful, be in power, be in control, predominate, have the ascendancy, have the greatest influence, have the upper hand, have the edge, have the whip hand, hold the whip hand
      run the show, be in the driving seat, be in the saddle
      View synonyms
  • hold thumbs

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

      • ‘South Africans will be holding thumbs for a dose of good news coming out of Dublin, Ireland, tonight at 6pm our time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘They are only holding thumbs hoping that things will improve, rather sooner than later.’
  • hold someone to bail

    • Bind someone by bail.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • hold one's tongue

    • informal [often in imperative]Remain silent.

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

  • hold one's head up (or hold one's head high)

  • 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’
      • ‘This subject has come up before - I just don't think it holds water.’
      • ‘I have proved that your statements don't hold water.’
      • ‘As far as I'm concerned my argument completely holds water.’
      • ‘In other words, their excuse does not hold water!’
      • ‘The theory that does not hold water with me is that cannabis leads on to harder drugs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The explanation given last night does not, on reflection, appear to hold water.’
      • ‘But I don't know enough about the public health statistics to know whether this objection actually 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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This would be a bruising, no-holds-barred grapple.’
      • ‘This time it was McCabe versus Steel, in a tag match with no holds barred.’
      • ‘I have 9 no holds barred fights and am ranked the #1 fighter in the world under 155 lb.’
      • ‘A fun, no holds barred brawl between Finlay and JBL started the night off right.’
      1. 1.1Used to convey that no rules or restrictions apply in a conflict or dispute:
        ‘no-holds-barred military action’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘They will act with no holds barred, including the use of nuclear weapons.’
        • ‘There were no holds barred in that war.’
        • ‘Wouldn't it be supremely interesting to hear what people had to say about you with no holds barred?’
        • ‘The host assured us that this was to be a ‘frank, open exchange, with no holds barred.’’
        • ‘‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The two redoubled their efforts, attacking each other viciously, no holds barred.’
        • ‘But clearly what was taking place was a bitter power struggle between opposing ruling cliques with no holds barred on either side.’
        • ‘It was an assassin's duel, the usual messy fray, 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’
      • ‘However for consumers, five minutes of waiting on hold, can undo years of advertising and brand exposure.’
      • ‘I called this place and asked to be put on hold, curious what the music would sound like.’
      • ‘Honestly, what a nerve - them ringing you up to put you on hold until they have someone free to talk to you.’
      • ‘People trying to contact the council by phone have complained of being put on hold for long periods or waiting’
      • ‘The call was charged at premium rate, I was put on hold until nearly £5 of credit had been used.’
      • ‘She put me on hold and then sure enough, I was talking with Jim Holman.’
      • ‘Before the befuddled caller could reply, she placed him on hold again.’
      • ‘People trapped in fires don't want to be stuck on hold listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons’
      • ‘I was put on hold, and when the person came back I was told that all appeared to be in order.’
      • ‘Businesses even need a licence to play music on their telephone line when customers are put on hold.’
      1. 1.1Temporarily not being dealt with or pursued:
        ‘he has had to put his career on hold’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘But discussions look set to be put on hold because of an ongoing problem regarding the new access road.’
        • ‘When he didn't hear from us, he assumed the project must be on hold.’
        • ‘I want to put everything on hold and take off into the hills for a few days.’
        • ‘Then, once he had sampled the life of the full-time sportsman, he decided to stay on, and put his studies on hold.’
        postpone, put off, put back, hold off, defer, delay, adjourn, shelve, suspend, hold in abeyance
        put over, take a rain check on
        put on ice, put on the back burner, put in cold storage, mothball
        remit, respite
        View synonyms
  • take hold

    • Start to have an effect:

      ‘the reforms of the late nineteenth century had taken 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.’
      • ‘It's a message that's taking hold in Europe, causing more division between the EU and the US.’
      • ‘The child was put to bed on Wednesday night - just hours later the virus took hold.’
      • ‘As Parkinson's disease took hold, he developed a phobia about the cracks between paving stones.’
      • ‘Many would seem to be tied into contracts which began before the surge in fuel prices took hold.’
      • ‘The cancer took hold in 2001 leading to respiratory problems and a rapid decline in health.’
      • ‘In large doses the anaesthetic effect takes hold and can lead to respiratory problems.’
      • ‘As forty degrees of sun and a lack of shade took hold, so my thoughts wandered.’
      • ‘However, the idea the trains would be required to shift increasing amounts of produce from the Mid West is taking hold.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Once they found their rhythm there was no holding them.’
      • ‘Food nearly consumed, we once again found out that Dave had found the microphone; there is no holding him now.’
      • ‘when he's determined to get away, there's no holding him.’

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’
      • ‘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 would appreciate, of course, a 10, but, if you feel inclined to give me a 9, I won't hold it against you.’
      • ‘It was a mark of his good nature that he did not hold it against you.’
      • ‘I respect what everyone else decides but I hope my refusal is not held against me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We won't hold it against you if can't make it.’
      • ‘Make a genuine mistake and chances are that they will not 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.’
      • ‘You could say anything to him and know he'd never be able to hold it against you.’
      • ‘‘It wouldn't have even occurred to me that a professor would hold my views against me, the way these kids do,’ he said.’
  • hold back

    • Hesitate to act or speak:

      ‘he held back, remembering the mistake he had made before’
      • ‘Our very opinionated panel never holds back on the big stories of the week.’
      • ‘This is the writer's strength - when she holds back she makes the reader want to take those imaginative leaps.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We're holding back on our enthusiasm until we are told that exchange of contracts has been scheduled firmly.’
      • ‘There was little indication yesterday that producers were holding back but there are still four days to go.’
      • ‘This match began in a frenzy of punches with neither boxer holding back nor defending themselves with great aplomb.’
      • ‘The fear of doing something wrong holds back so many people when learning how to do things.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, it holds back from actually making a critical judgment.’
      hesitate, pause, stop oneself, restrain oneself, desist, forbear, discontinue, withhold from doing something, refrain from doing something
      View synonyms
  • hold someone/thing back

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

      ‘my lack of experience held me back a bit’
      • ‘We have so many ideas on promoting the history of soccer in America but our lack of funds is holding us back.’
      • ‘It holds me back from progressing as fast as I'd like.’
      • ‘Apparently I am smarter than average, quite bright, but my lack self-confidence and initiative is holding me back.’
      • ‘Remember, my sickness had held me back from exploring things that other young people could experience.’
      • ‘We will not allow this experience to hold us back from doing anything.’
      • ‘I've missed my friends and family and although we have made some new friends, the language barrier holds you back.’
      • ‘I know what holds me back: negativity, lack of confidence, anxiousness, and expectations.’
      • ‘I didn't want something like lack of money to hold you back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She wanted to experience life and didn't want to have anything to hold her back.’
      hinder, hamper, inhibit, impede, obstruct, check, curb, block, thwart, baulk, hamstring, restrain, frustrate, retard, delay, prevent from making progress, stand in someone's way
      stymie
      bork
      trammel
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Refuse or be unwilling to make something known:
        ‘you're not holding anything back from me, are you?’
        • ‘What are you holding back that you're afraid to tell me?’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘You know you've developed a good relationship with your students when they tell you about their weekends without holding anything back.’
        • ‘She leaves a suicide note, whose contents are held back until an appropriately melodramatic turning point.’
        • ‘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.’
        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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She had seen it collapse, would have run back into the flames, but strong arms had held her down, apparently.’
      • ‘Although they were often defeated, the Spanish armies continued to defy the French, while Spanish guerrillas held down large numbers of French troops.’
      • ‘Knox, a teacher's daughter, reportedly burst into tears when it was suggested she held her flatmate 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She shrieked as he held her down.’
      • ‘Strict rent control laws here hold down rents but give landlords little incentive to shell out for earthquake proofing.’
      • ‘Twenty men could hold down the strongest strong man in any society, ancient or modern.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘They could receive the payout even while continuing to hold down other jobs.’
      • ‘Antony left his girlfriend a while ago, he has a job and he's holding it down.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Because of her health problems, she had difficulty holding down permanent work.’
      • ‘For the previous two seasons Richard has held down the position of the Business Manager.’
      • ‘Judy was also holding down another position - that of being a mother.’
      • ‘Most of them will be people you know, holding down good jobs, good lives, good families.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While Patrick had worked as a sheet metal fabricator, he has had difficulty holding down jobs since he left school.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Sunday Business Post has a section on its website where it holds forth on ethics and standards.’
      • ‘They hold forth at length about how they despise Pinot Grigio because it ‘doesn't taste of anything much’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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
      declaim, discourse, spout, expatiate, pontificate, orate, preach, sermonize
      lecture, harangue, fulminate
      spiel, speechify, preachify, drone on
      perorate
      View synonyms
  • hold something in

    • Suppress an expression of emotion:

      ‘she tried to stop laughing, but it was too much to hold in’
  • hold someone/thing off

    • Resist an attacker or challenge:

      ‘he held off a late challenge by Vose to win by thirteen seconds’
      • ‘Robert is having the challenge of his life trying to hold the other five off, but he is standing strong.’
      • ‘It took hundreds of cops and begging the owner of a local gun store for enough weapons to hold these guys off.’
      • ‘They really went for it and our lads did well to hold them off and obtain the point.’
      • ‘The Indians attacked again at dusk, but they were held off by rifle and cannon fire.’
      • ‘He pushed the men away and held them off until the police arrived and the attackers ran off.’
      • ‘Thankfully we had got into our game by then and managed to hold them off.’
      • ‘With all his might he fought to hold her 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 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.’
      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’
      • ‘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 flower season is coming to an end but with some luck it could last another few weeks if frost holds off.’
      • ‘The sky was darkening but the rain was still just holding off.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Storm clouds threatened throughout the walk, but the sun peeped through occasionally and the rain held off.’
      • ‘Luckily the rain held off until the last game was played.’
      • ‘Heavy rain and high winds held off until early Thursday night, when winds gusted to 84 kph.’
      • ‘Provided the rain holds off, England should today complete one of their biggest ever wins.’
      • ‘At least the weather held off this afternoon, and we could run.’
      • ‘In some cases, entire families headed off, picnic in tow, hoping that the rain would hold off.’
      1. 1.1Delay or postpone an action or decision:
        ‘if I was in their shoes, I'd hold off for a couple of days’
        • ‘You will hold off until everything meets with your approval.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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 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.’
        • ‘Perhaps they're all holding off until next week when I'll have finished for the year.’
        wait, hold back, pause, delay, hang back, hang fire, take no action, bide one's time, play a waiting game
        View synonyms
  • hold on

    • 1[often in imperative]Wait; stop:

      ‘hold on a minute, I'll be right back!’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘When he finished telling her his idea, she asked him to hold on a minute and left the room.’
      • ‘But hold on a minute, he is having an affair with his secretary because he is famous?’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘Mark Potts was the club's sole representative in the under-15s race, holding on for a respectable 23rd position.’
      • ‘They have been holding on for as long as possible.’
      • ‘Jamie Ewart did lash home a deserved second for Whitehill in the very last minute but the visitors held on.’
      • ‘‘In my circle of friends a few have lost their jobs, but most are holding on tight,’ she said.’
      • ‘It was another of those games where we had to hold on in the dying minutes.’
      • ‘We discussed what makes certain people hold on in extreme circumstances.’
      • ‘In many ways I think we're holding on just to make it to the cabin.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They held on for fifteen minutes before a penalty was awarded close in.’
      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’
      • ‘Think of all the win bonuses the club has held on to since last July.’
      • ‘She tries to hold on to as much genuine stuff as she can while pandering to fancier tastes.’
      • ‘She is putting right what has gone wrong in her life and holding on to what is familiar.’
      • ‘These are the memories that we will hold on to when we become advanced in age, if we get there.’
      • ‘Japanese leaders were determined to hold on to what they saw as the critical area of the Pacific theatre.’
      • ‘It is a book to hold on to, for repeated reference to information and inspiration.’
      • ‘The correct strategy would then be to hold on to as much territory as possible for as long as possible.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Despite holding on to two stars for the past two years, the hospital could not make it three in a row.’
      • ‘As far as I know, there are only two ways to hold on to more of your money: earn more or spend less.’
      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’
      • ‘What would be the value of a lone survivor, pointlessly holding out in a blighted, boarded-up street?’
      • ‘A Japanese invasion from occupied China was not unexpected; the colony had simply been told to hold out for as long as possible.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Perhaps he just hasn't the strength of will to hold out, as one might be unable to withstand torture.’
      • ‘Ravaged cities continue to hold out against the coalition.’
      • ‘His improvisation and organization helped the British to hold out for 217 days against overwhelming forces.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Troops controlled by the Roman Catholic bishop set siege to the city but the Anabaptists were able to hold out for 16 months.’
      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’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘We're going to stay here as long as possible, as long as our food supply holds out.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The only thing to hope for was our emergency oxygen supply would hold out long enough for us to get to a lower altitude.’
        • ‘The bar's owner, to the delight of his patrons, promised to stay open as long as the power from his generator held out.’
        • ‘I've bought at least one album every week so far this year, I plan to continue this provided my finances hold 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’
      • ‘She says she was holding out for an offer from the BBC, which she felt would do the best job.’
      • ‘She accepted the money after being told she could lose it all if she continued holding out for more.’
      • ‘He's holding out for more money, thinking someone else is going to give him more than I'm offering.’
      • ‘He is holding out for more than the million pounds he has been offered to make the film.’
      • ‘It looks increasingly likely that shareholders who had been holding out for more than £6 a share will be disappointed.’
      • ‘If you have options you can hold out for more money.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That means even small companies can hold out for sweeter offers.’
      • ‘The workers are holding out for a four per cent pay increase but management have only offered 3.6 per cent.’
  • 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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They'd know that I was holding out on them, but what did they expect?’
      • ‘Was it wise for me to hold out on information like 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?’
      • ‘I think you've been holding out on me.’
      • ‘Little were we to realize, then, that the group has in fact been holding out on us.’
      • ‘I just want to know… why are you holding out on me?’
      • ‘He's holding out on vital information that we trusted him with.’
  • hold something out

    • Offer a chance or hope:

      ‘a new drug may hold out hope for patients with lung cancer’
      • ‘A British breakthrough in stem cell research holds out the prospect that ‘permanent’ brain and nerve damage may one day be reversed.’
      • ‘China holds out the promise of being the most important growth economy in the world outside the United States.’
      • ‘It also holds out the prospect of improved treatments and better techniques of preventing the distressing condition, which affects one in every 500 children.’
      • ‘In such dark times, feminism holds out a beacon of hope.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • hold something over

    • 1Postpone something:

      ‘the usual family gathering was held over until late January’
      • ‘The announcement of the final count was held over from the early hours of Sunday morning to allow for the papers to be checked.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The movie poll results have been held over until later in the week.’
      • ‘‘It is possible maybe for one person to hold their funeral over maybe until Monday,’ said Fr O'Sullivan.’
      • ‘The Government will take its chances on business; if we cannot complete it, then that business will be held over until early next year.’
      • ‘Lack of time means I have to hold it over until next week.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘A number of letters have been held over until next week.’
      • ‘A full report on the gathering has been held over due to lack of space.’
      • ‘I seek leave to hold this question over until Mr Hawkins is in a position to be in the House to answer it.’
      postpone, put off, put back, delay, defer, adjourn, suspend, shelve, hold in abeyance
      put over, table, take a rain check on
      put on ice, put on the back burner, put in cold storage, mothball
      remit, respite
      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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And also part of the purpose of that statutory provision is to hold a threat over people…’
      • ‘If you think that you're holding some threat over my head, think again.’
      • ‘Frist can hold this threat over the heads of Democrats, who are committed to minimize the use of filibusters.’
  • hold together (or hold something together)

    • Remain or cause to remain united:

      ‘if your party holds together, you will probably win’
      • ‘He is seen as the only politician really capable of holding the government together.’
      • ‘‘I think the coalition will remain intact because what holds it together is the campaign against terrorism,’ Powell said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To a degree anticommunism, and with it a ‘strong’ defence policy, gave conservative parties an intellectual glue which held them together.’
      • ‘Our communities are held together by the generosity inherent in gifting.’
      • ‘I think that our society is held together by respect for these public voicings of commitment.’
      • ‘He was the glue that held this coalition government together.’
      • ‘She was also successful in holding her party together.’
      • ‘As long as he remains in power he holds the country together and is a bulwark against enemies from outside.’
  • hold up

    • Remain strong or vigorous:

      ‘the Labour vote held up well’
      • ‘At the last general election the Labour vote held up best in the party's marginal seats.’
      • ‘Whether it will hold up under the latest media onslaught remains to be seen.’
      • ‘I sweat until pretty much every inch of my clothing is soaked, but my energy holds up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Travis's core heavyside business, which services the jobbing builder, is holding up well.’
      • ‘The counting of postal votes shows 6,000 votes already cast with our vote holding up well.’
      • ‘He says at the moment prices are holding up, just marginally below last year's levels.’
      • ‘In-store activity had been holding up well but has suddenly gone very quiet over the past couple of weeks, he told me.’
      • ‘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.’
  • hold someone/thing up

    • 1Support and prevent something from falling:

      ‘concrete pillars hold up the elevated section of the railway’
      • ‘Since the entire palace was made of alabaster, it hardly needed pillars to hold it 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.’
      • ‘Aidan wasn't sure his legs would hold him up, but he stood.’
      • ‘It looked like the roadway had collapsed, I could see the crumbling remains of the old supports that had held it up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pillars seemed to have held the roof up for many years now as the roof was cracked and crumbling.’
      • ‘Hannah's legs seemed to no longer be able to hold her up, and she fell to the floor, shaking violently.’
      • ‘Luckily, one of the posts holding the jetty up was stopping him going any further, otherwise he would have been in trouble.’
      • ‘Four columns held it up for support, and each column had a diameter of no less than ten feet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The rooftop of the stables was a flat sheet of metal with wooden pillars to hold it up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Suddenly the heroes felt the floor beneath them shake and they hid behind the pillars that held the ceiling up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pillars that hold these bridges up are being placed at intervals wider than the old ones, to permit easier water flow.’
      • ‘She realized one of the boards holding the mattress up had fallen.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were immediately behind one of the giant metal posts holding up the roof!’
      • ‘Two stone pillars held an arched roof up, which itself was engraved with runes and other types of symbols.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.’
      • ‘He holds up a copy of the latest bestseller.’
      • ‘Once on the plate smaller plates slide out to hold up the sleeves.’
      • ‘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 ".’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some are just sitting picking away at their work, others standing holding up their latest creations.’
      • ‘Many held up camcorders or cellphones with cameras to capture the scene.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
        • ‘Instead it holds up for admiration those who made suffering their art form.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘No diplomat anywhere is likely to turn the other cheek if his president is held up to ridicule in a public forum.’
        • ‘For a long time golfers were held up to ridicule for their attempts at fashion.’
        • ‘The first test of his leadership, when he will be held up to an hour of merciless scrutiny by the electorate, comes next Saturday.’
        • ‘That can only happen through open political debate, where bigoted views are held up to scrutiny.’
        • ‘They give high quality care and they are held up as an example of good practice.’
        • ‘York will be held up to the rest of the world as an example of hope for the future of the planet.’
        • ‘Students from Swindon College were held up as examples for others to follow at the Further Education Research Association Conference.’
        • ‘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.’
    • 3Delay or block the movement or progress of someone or something:

      ‘our return flight was held up for seven hours’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It meant a three-day delay in delivery for some wards as the post was held up over the Bank Holiday weekend.’
      • ‘What is really holding up the further spread of such infrastructure are planning delays.’
      • ‘At Luxor airport seven flights were held up while two others were diverted to Cairo airport.’
      • ‘If there is a thunderstorm in Chicago, all the flights in New York are held up.’
      • ‘I had to wait three hours for the next one and hoped no-one had cursed me for holding the flight up.’
      • ‘Real medical advances are held up for years or totally blocked by red-tape.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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 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.’
      • ‘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 claimed he was held up at knife point during a raid when some two thousand pounds' worth of video equipment was stolen.’
      • ‘In late September, three canoes carrying fishing supplies were held up by gunmen who seized all goods and abducted the 23 people on board.’
      • ‘Nobody thinks that if criminals cannot get imitation guns they will stop holding people 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.’
      • ‘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 negative]Approve of:

      ‘I don't hold with fighting or violence’
      • ‘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 hold with their beliefs that everyone has a right to live a good quality of life,’ explains the year 10 student.’
      • ‘I'll float the hypothesis even if I don't hold with it for one moment.’
      • ‘I don't hold with celebrating particular dates.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I don't hold with a religious Christmas particularly, I'm not that bothered about presents.’
      • ‘He doesn't hold with the cynics who can't accept characters bursting into song at the drop of a hat.’
      • ‘He admits that Killian had very high standards and didn't hold with pilots not meeting them.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
      stand for, give the thumbs up to, give the okay to
      be doing with
      approbate
      View synonyms

Origin

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.

Pronunciation:

hold

/həʊld/

Main definitions of hold in English

: hold1hold2

hold2

noun

  • 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.’
    • ‘Rameses takes me to the bottom of the ship, to the cargo hold.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘During travel, insulin should not be put in the luggage hold of an aircraft as it may freeze.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They have encouraged carry-on bags to cut the time and expense of loading luggage into aircraft holds.’
    • ‘I jumped to the ground and headed for the cargo hold, examining my ship on the way.’
    • ‘The cargo was stowed in the hold.’
    • ‘A fire in the engine-room spread to the hold, causing the crew to abandon ship.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘We just plucked our bags from the hold of the aircraft, and drove off,’ he says.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Parts that had been replaced were scattered on the metal floor in the space that had once been 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.’
    • ‘Each unit costs a different amount and they also take up a certain amount of space in the cargo hold of the ship.’
    • ‘And then some of their cargo showed up, and they were all busy stowing it in the cargo hold.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

hold

/həʊld/