One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The den of an animal, especially that of an otter.
- ‘They have built a false otter holt, or den, by the river - its exact location is a carefully kept secret - and there are unconfirmed reports that an otter-like creature has been seen in the location.’
- ‘The trust has also built artificial holts in which otters can breed, and encouraged farmers, landowners and the public to do the same.’
- ‘Wild bird cover crops, an otter holt and boxes for owls, kestrels and bats all contribute to wildlife diversity.’
- ‘A holt has been built on the banks of the River Wharfe to encourage the animals to continue using the river.’
- ‘First, we scramble around rockpools in the furthest corner of the bay, to investigate an otter's holt, hidden under flat rocks.’
- ‘The otter holt is among the most popular displays.’
2North American dialect A grip or hold.
- ‘He couldn't get a holt on any money, so I told him about the Farmers' Loan’
- ‘But the new teacher, very wise, and understanding June's spirit, soon enough found a way to get a holt on the girl's heart strings.’
Late Middle English (in holt (sense 2)): variant of hold.
A wood or wooded hill.
high ground, rising ground, prominence, eminence, elevation, rise, hillock, mound, mount, knoll, hummock, tor, tump, fell, pike, mesaView synonyms
- ‘Miller also refers to a change in this landscape, presumably after enclosure: ‘The crofts and garths, holms and holts… were no longer known’.’
Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch hout and German Holz, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek klados ‘twig’.
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