Definition of toehold in English:



  • 1A small place where a person's foot can be lodged to support them, especially while climbing.

    • ‘Michael stood below him, placing the young climber's feet into the toeholds afforded by the sheer rock wall.’
    • ‘Her feet seemed to take on an intelligence of their own, searching out desperate toeholds on the creek-bottom.’
    • ‘Janet carefully swung one leg over the sill and rested her small foot on the narrow toehold as she shifted the rest of her through the opening.’
    • ‘Carved toeholds allow access around one drop-off and into a slot canyon that's no more than an arm span across.’
    • ‘One step after another I fumbled for a toehold, my legs weak and my grip moist.’
    • ‘He begins his ascent rapidly, flinging the rope upward around the trunk to create a high handhold, kicking a leg up to snag a toehold, flinging the rope again for a higher handhold to pull to still higher toeholds.’
    • ‘Your weight shifts and, incredibly, your right foot catches a toehold.’
    • ‘She fell back and tried again several times until, as I silently urged her on, she finally managed to get a toehold with her right front foot on top of the lower, two-board side of the corner.’
    • ‘Her hands grasped the tiniest cracks and protuberances and without thought to where they would take her, her feet scrambled for the slightest toehold!’
    foothold, hold, grip, anchorage, purchase, secure position, firm contact, support
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A relatively insignificant position from which further progress may be made.
      ‘the initiative is helping companies to gain a toehold in the Gulf’
      • ‘Having established a toehold, the parent company then looks to expand with further acquisitions.’
      • ‘This is what New York is and has always been about; immigrants setting up shops or market stalls to get a toehold in their new home.’
      • ‘We have to show them they can't have a toehold in Leeds, that there is no place for people who sow seeds of hatred and division.’
      • ‘They didn't abandon their culture, and they didn't even really change it - they just got a toehold on prosperity.’
      • ‘If any form of sexual license is condemned then it leaves a toehold for other forms of sexual license to be condemned.’
      • ‘This ‘additional functionality’ should be removed, he advises, and the operating system secured so attackers cannot get the necessary toehold on the system.’
      • ‘Quite simply, local young people are being squeezed right out of the housing market, quite unable to contemplate gaining even a toehold.’
      • ‘Minor blister pain can advance from a low simmer to a fiery torture in the space of a few miles, so don't let it get a toehold in the gap between your feet and your socks and shoes.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, he has already failed as far as many families are concerned, and many of those who have managed to get a toehold on home ownership now have such a huge debt that they live in fear of the smallest rise in interest rates.’
      • ‘Companies in other sectors, such as food processing and timber, are also keen to establish toeholds in Eastern Europe.’
      • ‘Younger workers, who have used computers their entire lives, are now gaining a toehold in the workplace.’
      • ‘The French reached Cayenne in 1604, and the Dutch arrived in 1616, but Britain did not gain a permanent toehold until 1796.’
      • ‘And they are appealing for the public to use the hotline to help stop other dealers from getting a toehold here.’
      • ‘So how can first-time buyers find ways out of this situation and at least get a toehold on to the elusive housing market ladder?’
      • ‘Few independent comic artists have succeeded in gaining a toehold in the lucrative spin-off market.’
      • ‘He realises that his party is battling hard to retain a toehold in what was once its bastion.’
      • ‘It prefers to begin its expansion programme in new countries by gaining a toehold - or minority interest - rather than making a big initial acquisition.’
      • ‘It's easy to read themes of ecology and anti-industrialism into what are extremely overbuilt industrial cities where nature has to fight for a toehold.’
      • ‘Furthermore, his trademark fusion of ornate mysticism and lurid pop-art aesthetics had taken a toehold in New York's art scene as well.’
      • ‘It'll be a toehold for the organisation in Europe.’