Definition of handhold in US English:



  • Something for a hand to grip on.

    ‘the rock is steep and there are few handholds’
    • ‘The cowboy uses one arm to hold onto the handhold and has to try to stay on for eight seconds.’
    • ‘They conveniently happened to be in the best places for footholds and handholds.’
    • ‘However, he added, visitors to this and any other cemetery should take extra care near to memorials and headstones and never use them as handholds to help them while kneeling down or standing up.’
    • ‘The pillar appeared to be miles wide, and as she peered at it she could see small indents - handholds.’
    • ‘I forced myself up from the bed, gasping and gripping whatever handholds I could find.’
    • ‘It seems like every time I go climbing on a sandstone formation, I break off a handhold, yet I can't put a dent in this boulder.’
    • ‘He grabbed it, and for one terrifying moment was hanging in mid-air with only two handholds; but then he found a foothold just before his grip slipped.’
    • ‘Another is stranded, frustrated, in the middle of the wall, stretching for out-of-reach handholds.’
    • ‘The brown rectangles here are good, solid footholds; the blue circles are small, rounded, slippery handholds that you could not put your weight on - your hands are not strong enough to grip them tightly.’
    • ‘And there's something poetic in the way the handful of people, and the dozens of worn, yellow painted handholds resonate in their gentle movements.’
    • ‘She places her boot on the first foothold, and reaches for the handholds.’
    • ‘We plunged into the deep, narrow ravine, grasping for handholds on the sheer sidewalls, disturbing spiders' silk strands strung across the path.’
    • ‘I'd managed to scramble up to the crest on what was basically slate: handholds and footholds tended to detach themselves in small, take-home-and-keep pieces.’
    • ‘There are no handholds, so I bang repeatedly against the roof.’
    • ‘Formidable teeth and jaws were required to face a fox in closed quarters, while the tail needed to be sufficiently long to provide a handhold by which the dog could be pulled from shallow holes.’
    • ‘They hang from the bus, with half a big toe firmly planted on the footboard, and one hand grappling the handhold meant to help people get in.’
    • ‘Going down had been easy, but with no handholds or footholds, coming up was proving to be much harder than I'd expected.’
    • ‘She found two handholds she could reach and a slight indentation under the water offered her a place to put her feet.’
    • ‘Nobody would want the seats on buses, instead we'd fight for the handholds and the over-head bars, and buses would go past with people swinging like carcasses on meat hooks.’
    • ‘He slammed his blade into the hull of the tank, using the holes made as handholds.’


[with object]
  • 1Hold (a camera) in the hand when taking a photograph or making a video recording, as opposed to using a tripod.

    ‘we could hand-hold the camera at very slow shutter speeds with hardly any blur’
    • ‘The rule of thumb is never to hand-hold the camera at a shutter speed lower than your lens' focal length.’
    • ‘Pity I didn't bring a tripod: I've had to hand-hold the camera and use ISO 1600 so the photos are a little grainy.’
    • ‘If you have no choice but to handhold the camera, you can try a very fast ISO setting like 3200 or 6400 and see what kind of results you can get with shorter exposure times.’
    • ‘I would expect the VR of the 800mm lens to be optimized for tripod use since it would be difficult to hand-hold such a long and heavy lens.’
    • ‘I'm more interested in whether I can hand-hold a camera in dim light, while bumping up the ISO as little as possible.’
    • ‘Crossing a river ford, I was able to handhold the camera for a great shot of the moon and its reflection in a slowly flowing river.’
    • ‘I did not haul my tripod on this trip so had to hand-hold the evening shots.’
    • ‘If you've ever tried to hand-hold an iPad for even a few minutes while recording video, you can imagine what a wonderful thing an effective iPad tripod mount can be.’
    • ‘You can hand-hold the SX500 IS at speeds down to 1/15th without camera shake.’
    • ‘These camera are so tiny that grips are less of any issue for me, and as long as there is some kind of thumb hook, it's really not unpleasant to handhold them at all.’
    • ‘Under low-light conditions either indoors or at night, I can just boost the ISO to 3200 or even 6400 and can still capture some good images while hand holding the camera.’
    • ‘I dislike using a tripod and tend to hand-hold all my shots.’
    • ‘The ultra wide coverage means you can successfully handhold this lens at relatively low shutter speeds.’
    • ‘The light-gathering capabilities of these latest generation of cameras allow using higher ISOs that negate camera shake to almost nothing and I very often handhold my 400.’
  • 2Support or guide (someone) during a learning process or a period of change.

    ‘if you ask a mentor how to register, he or she will hand-hold you through the procedure’
    • ‘He hand-held them when they were taking baby steps in the industry.’
    • ‘I was relieved that showrunner Craig Silverstein trusted in the intelligence of the viewers and didn't attempt to hand-hold them through the story after the first few minutes.’
    • ‘They kick-started the sale process by appointing a consultant, who will handhold the party through the transaction.’
    • ‘We have installed a data specialist in the call centre whose key result area is to get a customer's services configured the moment he walks in and handhold them through all issues.’
    • ‘The role will require you to engage with prospective sellers and handhold them through a sale process so first class communication skills and commercial acumen is essential.’
    • ‘Dell has even been smart enough to feature its own Windows 8 tutorials on the Start screen to hand-hold those who might freak out over the changes.’
    • ‘We try and help and hand-hold where we can, but we don't have the dedicated resources to make this perfect.’
    • ‘The Finance Ministry had recently asked large public sector banks (PSBs) to handhold smaller counterparts to improve the latter's functioning.’
    • ‘The advisors hand-hold customers through the entire home process, from picking the floor plan to arranging the mortgage to taking as many calls as necessary to assuage fears.’
    • ‘An icon-driven user interface and smart connection wizard hand-holds you through the simple process of plugging in cables and getting your devices online.’
    • ‘I can't believe I have to hand-hold you through this argument.’
    • ‘I was very frustrated with her, because I had made 2-3 trips out to her shop to hand-hold her through the design of my floral arrangements.’