Definition of hold someone down in US English:

hold someone down

phrasal verb

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

    ‘the people are held down by a repressive military regime’
    • ‘Although they were often defeated, the Spanish armies continued to defy the French, while Spanish guerrillas held down large numbers of French troops.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She shrieked as he held her down.’
    • ‘Knox, a teacher's daughter, reportedly burst into tears when it was suggested she held her flatmate down.’
    • ‘Natalia looked about ready to kill Jake, but with her captor holding her down, she was helpless to do anything but glare icy daggers at him.’
    • ‘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.’