from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To have and keep in one's grasp: held the reins tightly.
  • transitive v. To aim or direct; point: held a hose on the fire.
  • transitive v. To keep from falling or moving; support: a nail too small to hold the mirror; hold the horse steady; papers that were held together with staples.
  • transitive v. To sustain the pressure of: The old bridge can't hold much weight.
  • transitive v. To keep from departing or getting away: Hold the bus! Hold the dog until I find the leash.
  • transitive v. To keep in custody: held the suspect for questioning.
  • transitive v. To retain (one's attention or interest): Televised sports can't hold my interest.
  • transitive v. To avoid letting out or expelling: The swimmer held her breath while underwater.
  • transitive v. To be filled by; contain.
  • transitive v. To be capable of holding. See Synonyms at contain.
  • transitive v. To have as a chief characteristic or quality: The film holds many surprises.
  • transitive v. To have in store: Let's see what the future holds.
  • transitive v. To have and maintain in one's possession: holds a great deal of property.
  • transitive v. To have as a responsible position or a privilege: held the governorship for six years.
  • transitive v. To have in recognition of achievement or superiority: holds the record for the one-mile race; holds the respect of her peers.
  • transitive v. To maintain control over: Thieves held the stolen painting for ransom.
  • transitive v. To maintain occupation of by force or coercion: Protesters held the embassy for a week.
  • transitive v. To withstand the efforts or advance of (an opposing team, for example).
  • transitive v. To maintain in a given condition, situation, or action: The storyteller held the crowd spellbound.
  • transitive v. To impose control or restraint on; curb: She held her temper.
  • transitive v. To stop the movement or progress of: Hold the presses!
  • transitive v. To reserve or keep back from use: Please hold two tickets for us. Hold the relish on that hamburger.
  • transitive v. To defer the immediate handling of: The receptionist held all calls during the meeting.
  • transitive v. To be the legal possessor of.
  • transitive v. To bind by a contract.
  • transitive v. To adjudge or decree: The court held that the defendant was at fault.
  • transitive v. To make accountable; obligate: He held me to my promise.
  • transitive v. To keep in the mind or convey as a judgment, conviction, or point of view: holds that this economic program is the only answer to high prices.
  • transitive v. To assert or affirm, especially formally: This doctrine holds that people are inherently good.
  • transitive v. To regard in a certain way: I hold you in high esteem.
  • transitive v. To cause to take place; carry on: held the race in Texas; hold a yard sale.
  • transitive v. To assemble for and conduct the activity of; convene: held a meeting of the board.
  • transitive v. To carry or support (the body or a bodily part) in a certain position: Can the baby hold herself up yet? Hold up your leg.
  • transitive v. To cover (the ears or the nose, for example) especially for protection: held my nose against the stench.
  • intransitive v. To maintain a grasp or grip on something.
  • intransitive v. To stay securely fastened: The chain held.
  • intransitive v. To maintain a desired or accustomed position or condition: hopes the weather will hold.
  • intransitive v. To withstand stress, pressure, or opposition: The defense held. We held firm on the negotiations.
  • intransitive v. To continue in the same direction: The ship held to an easterly course.
  • intransitive v. To be valid, applicable, or true: The observation still holds in cases like this.
  • intransitive v. To have legal right or title. Often used with of or from.
  • intransitive v. To halt an intended action. Often used in the imperative.
  • intransitive v. To stop the countdown during a missile or spacecraft launch.
  • intransitive v. Slang To have in one's possession illicit or illegally obtained material or goods, especially narcotics: The suspect was holding.
  • n. The act or a means of grasping.
  • n. A manner of grasping an opponent, as in wrestling or aikido: a neck hold; an arm hold.
  • n. Something that may be grasped or gripped, as for support.
  • n. A control or adjustor on a television that keeps the screen image in proper position: adjusted the horizontal hold.
  • n. A telephone service that allows one to temporarily interrupt a call without severing the connection.
  • n. A bond or force that attaches or restrains, or by which something is affected or dominated: a writer with a strong hold on her readership.
  • n. Complete control: has a firm hold on the complex issues.
  • n. Full understanding: has a good hold on physics.
  • n. Music The sustaining of a note longer than its indicated time value.
  • n. Music The symbol designating this pause; a fermata.
  • n. A direction or indication that something is to be reserved or deferred.
  • n. A temporary halt, as in a countdown.
  • n. A prison cell.
  • n. The state of being in confinement; custody.
  • n. Archaic A fortified place; a stronghold.
  • hold back To retain in one's possession or control: held back valuable information; held back my tears.
  • hold back To impede the progress of.
  • hold back To restrain oneself.
  • hold down To limit: Please hold the noise down.
  • hold down To fulfill the duties of (a job): holds down two jobs.
  • hold forth To talk at great length.
  • hold off To keep at a distance; resist: held the creditors off.
  • hold off To stop or delay doing something: Let's hold off until we have more data.
  • hold on To maintain one's grip; cling.
  • hold on To continue to do something; persist.
  • hold on To wait for something wanted or requested, especially to keep a telephone connection open.
  • hold out To present or proffer as something attainable.
  • hold out To continue to be in supply or service; last: Our food is holding out nicely.
  • hold out To continue to resist: The defending garrison held out for a month.
  • hold out To refuse to reach or satisfy an agreement.
  • hold over To postpone or delay.
  • hold over To keep in a position or state from an earlier period of time.
  • hold over To continue a term of office past the usual length of time.
  • hold over To prolong the engagement of: The film was held over for weeks.
  • hold to To remain loyal or faithful to: She held to her resolutions.
  • hold up To obstruct or delay.
  • hold up To rob while armed, often at gunpoint.
  • hold up To offer or present as an example: held the essay up as a model for the students.
  • hold up To continue to function without losing force or effectiveness; cope: managed to hold up under the stress.
  • hold with To agree with; support: I don't hold with your theories.
  • idiom get hold of To come into possession of; find: Where can I get hold of a copy?
  • idiom get hold of To communicate with, as by telephone: tried to get hold of you but the line was busy.
  • idiom get hold of To gain control of. Often used reflexively: You must get hold of yourself!
  • idiom hold a candle to To compare favorably with: This film doesn't hold a candle to his previous ones.
  • idiom hold (one's) end up To fulfill one's part of an agreement; do one's share.
  • idiom hold (one's) own To do reasonably well despite difficulty or criticism.
  • idiom hold out on (someone) To withhold something from: Don't hold out on me; start telling the truth.
  • idiom hold (someone's) feet to the fire To pressure (someone) to consent to or undertake something.
  • idiom hold sway To have a controlling influence; dominate.
  • idiom hold the bag Informal To be left with empty hands.
  • idiom hold the bag Informal To be forced to assume total responsibility when it ought to have been shared.
  • idiom hold the fort Informal To assume responsibility, especially in another's absence.
  • idiom hold the fort Informal To maintain a secure position.
  • idiom hold the line To maintain the existing position or state of affairs: had to hold the line on salary increases.
  • idiom hold the phone Slang To stop doing what one is engaged in doing. Often used in the imperative: Hold the phone! Let's end this argument.
  • idiom hold water To stand up to critical examination: Your explanation doesn't hold water.
  • idiom no holds barred Without limits or restraints.
  • idiom on hold Into a state of temporary interruption without severing a telephone connection: put me on hold for 10 minutes.
  • idiom on hold Informal Into a state of delay or indeterminate suspension: had to put the romance on hold.
  • n. The lower interior part of a ship or airplane where cargo is stored.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Gracious; friendly; faithful; true.
  • v. To grasp or grip.
  • v. To contain or store.
  • v. To have and keep possession of something.
  • v. To reserve.
  • v. To cause to wait or delay.
  • v. To detain.
  • v. To maintain, to consider, to opine.
  • v. To bind (someone) to a consequence of that person's actions.
  • v. To be or remain valid; to apply; to hold true; to hold good.
  • v. To win one's own service game.
  • v. To organise an event or meeting.
  • n. A grasp or grip.
  • n. Something reserved or kept.
  • n. A position or grip used to control the opponent.
  • n. The percentage the house wins on a gamble.
  • n. An instance of holding one's service game, as opposed to being broken.
  • n. The cargo area of a ship or aircraft, (often cargo hold).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The whole interior portion of a vessel below the lower deck, in which the cargo is stowed.
  • n. The act of holding, as in or with the hands or arms; the manner of holding, whether firm or loose; seizure; grasp; clasp; grip; possession; -- often used with the verbs take and lay.
  • n. The authority or ground to take or keep; claim.
  • n. Binding power and influence.
  • n. Something that may be grasped; means of support.
  • n. A place of confinement; a prison; confinement; custody; guard.
  • n. A place of security; a fortified place; a fort; a castle; -- often called a stronghold.
  • n. A character [thus �] placed over or under a note or rest, and indicating that it is to be prolonged; -- called also pause, and corona.
  • intransitive v. In general, to keep one's self in a given position or condition; to remain fixed. Hence
  • intransitive v. Not to move; to halt; to stop; -- mostly in the imperative.
  • intransitive v. Not to give way; not to part or become separated; to remain unbroken or unsubdued.
  • intransitive v. Not to fail or be found wanting; to continue; to last; to endure a test or trial; to abide; to persist.
  • intransitive v. Not to fall away, desert, or prove recreant; to remain attached; to cleave; -- often with with, to, or for.
  • intransitive v. To restrain one's self; to refrain.
  • intransitive v. To derive right or title; -- generally with of.
  • transitive v. To cause to remain in a given situation, position, or relation, within certain limits, or the like; to prevent from falling or escaping; to sustain; to restrain; to keep in the grasp; to retain.
  • transitive v. To retain in one's keeping; to maintain possession of, or authority over; not to give up or relinquish; to keep; to defend.
  • transitive v. To have; to possess; to be in possession of; to occupy; to derive title to.
  • transitive v. To impose restraint upon; to limit in motion or action; to bind legally or morally; to confine; to restrain.
  • transitive v. To maintain in being or action; to carry on; to prosecute, as a course of conduct or an argument; to continue; to sustain.
  • transitive v. To prosecute, have, take, or join in, as something which is the result of united action; as to, hold a meeting, a festival, a session, etc.; hence, to direct and bring about officially; to conduct or preside at
  • transitive v. To receive and retain; to contain as a vessel; ; hence, to be able to receive and retain; to have capacity or containing power for.
  • transitive v. To accept, as an opinion; to be the adherent of, openly or privately; to persist in, as a purpose; to maintain; to sustain.
  • transitive v. To consider; to regard; to esteem; to account; to think; to judge.
  • transitive v. To bear, carry, or manage

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To keep fast or close, as in the grasp of the hand; control or prevent the movement or action of, by grasping, binding, arresting, or other means of constraint or detention; retain; keep: as, to hold a horse by the bridle; to hold a prisoner in chains; to hold the attention of an audience; to hold one's self in readiness.
  • To keep back; detain: as, goods held for the payment of duties.
  • To keep back from action; restrain from action or manifestation; withhold; restrain; check.
  • To contain, or be capable of containing; have capacity or accommodation for: as, a basket holding two bushels; the church holds two thousand people.
  • To pursue, prosecute, or carry on; entertain; employ; sustain: as, to hold one's course; to hold a court or a meeting; to hold an argument; to hold intercourse.
  • Specifically, in music: To sing or play, as one of several parts in a harmony: as, to hold the tenor in a glee.
  • To maintain in one part, as a tone, while the other parts progress; dwell upon.
  • To have and retain as one's own; be vested with title to; own: as, to hold a mortgage.
  • To have or be in possession of; occupy: as, to hold land adversely; to hold office.
  • To maintain; uphold; defend: as, to hold one's own; to hold one's right against all comers.
  • To entertain in the mind; regard, or regard as; consider, deem, esteem, or judge to be: as, to hold an opinion or a prejudice; to hold one's self free to act.
  • To decide; lay down the law: as, the court held that the plaintiff was entitled to recover.
  • To bear; endure.
  • To support; maintain; keep up; bear; carry.
  • To keep or set apart as belonging to some one; keep.
  • To bet; wager.
  • To continue to resist or endure.
  • Said of a tone in music whose duration extends over from one measure to the next.
  • To sustain; keep from falling or sinking; hence, to support; uphold.
  • To forcibly stop and rob on the highway: as, to hold up a stage or a mail-carrier.
  • To be sound or consistent throughout; not to be leaky or untenable: as, the argument does not hold water.
  • To keep or maintain a grasp or connection, literally or figuratively; adhere; cling; be or remain unbroken or undetached; not to give way: as, hold on by a rope; the anchor holds well; he holds to his agreement.
  • To maintain a position or a condition; stand fast; remain; continue; last: as, hold still; the garrison held out; my promise holds good.
  • To hold one's way; keep going on; go forward; proceed.
  • To be restrained; refrain; cease or pause in doing something: commonly used in the imperative.
  • To have a possession, right, or privilege; derive title: followed by of, from, or under: as, to hold directly of or from the crown; tenants holding under long leases.
  • In shooting, to take aim.
  • To continue; keep going.
  • To stop; halt: chiefly in the imperative.
  • To aim directly at moving game.
  • To stop; cease; especially, to stop raining.
  • To continue the same speed; keep up the pace: a word of command to hunting-dogs.
  • In sporting, to maintain one's record, score, performance, or winnings.
  • Gracious; friendly; faithful; true.
  • Same as hold, intransitive verb, 7.
  • To hold or back up (a rivet which is being headed over).
  • Specifically, in archery, to make a short pause, after drawing a bow, for fixing the aim and preparing to loose the bowstring.
  • Of a female animal, to retain the spermatozoa of the male so that she may become pregnant.
  • n. The act of holding; a grasp, grip, or clutch; a seizure or taking possession; hence, controlling force: as, to take hold; to lay hold of; to keep hold of a thing; imagination has a strong hold upon him.
  • n. Something which may be grasped for support; that which supports; support.
  • n. Confinement; imprisonment; keeping.
  • n. A fortified place; a place of security; a castle; a stronghold.
  • n. A dwelling; habitation.
  • n. In law, land in possession; holding; the estate held; tenure: as, freehold, estate held in fee or for life, this being anciently the estate or tenure of a freeman; leasehold, a holding by lease.
  • n. In musical notation, the sign or , placed over or under a note or rest, indicating a pause, the duration of which depends upon the performer's discretion; a pause or fermata. It is also placed over a bar to indicate either the end of a repeat or a pause between two distinct sections.
  • n. Nautical, the interior of a ship or vessel below the deck, or below the lower deck, in which the stores and freight are stowed.
  • n. In old Eng. hist., the title of an officer in the Danelaw corresponding to the high reeve among the English.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. organize or be responsible for
  • v. hold the attention of
  • v. have rightfully; of rights, titles, and offices
  • n. understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something
  • v. have room for; hold without crowding
  • n. time during which some action is awaited


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English holden, from Old English healdan.
Alteration (influenced by hold1) of Middle English hole, husk, hull of a ship, from Old English hulu.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English hold, holde, from Old English hold ("gracious, friendly, kind, favorable, true, faithful, loyal, devout, acceptable, pleasant"), from Proto-Germanic *hulþaz (“favourable, gracious, loyal”), from Proto-Indo-European *kel- (“to tend, incline, bend, tip”). Cognate with German hold ("gracious, friendly, sympathetic, grateful"), Danish and Swedish huld ("fair, kindly, gracious"), Icelandic hollur ("faithful, dedicated, loyal"), German Huld ("grace, favour").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English holden, from Old English healdan, from Proto-Germanic *haldanan ‘to tend, herd’, from Proto-Indo-European *kel- ‘to drive’ (compare Latin celer ("quick"), Tocharian B kälts ("to goad, drive"), Ancient Greek κέλλω (kellō, "to drive"), Sanskrit kaláyati ("he impels")). Cognate to West Frisian hâlde, Dutch houden, Low German holen, German halten, Danish holde.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Alteration (due to hold) of hole. Cognate with Dutch hol ("hole, cave, den, cavity, cargo hold").


  • I was not entirely sure that I should be able to hold my own with him, but I at least had the purpose made to do as well as I could upon him; and now I say that I will not be the first to cry “hold.

    Sixth Joint Debate at Quincy. Mr. Lincoln's Speech

  • Without saying anything of my intentions to any one, I mounted the railing, and taking hold of the centre rope, just below the upper block, I put one foot on the hook below the lower block, and stepped off just as I did so some one called out “hold on.

    Chapter IV

  • * puts me on hold for 5 minutes -I still have the customer on hold*

    Teknikcal support, - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

  • He's being held by Mary Landrieu, who admits that her hold is about the White House's moratorium on offshore drilling, not about Lew, who she says “clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve as one of the President's most important economic advisors.”

    The Senate becomes a little more broken

  • "Despite The Post's claim to the contrary, my hold is absolutely related to Mr. Lew and the position he seeks," Landrieu wrote in response.

    Landrieu explains why she's blocking Lew

  • In other areas where that process is already being done, they're in what they call a hold and rebuild phase, where they're trying to get that sort of trust with the local population.

    CNN Transcript Aug 30, 2006

  • And then increasingly he got what he called a hold on himself.


  • I would rate Ford a short term hold with a medium to long term buy.

  • That being said, the insights and answers provided in this title hold true to biblical statements concerning the evidence of God found throughout creation and His people, and should be acceptable within all major denominational bents.

    All articles at Blogcritics

  • Instead, a "hold" is shorthand for a promise to obstruct all further consideration of a particular piece of Senate business. explanation of how this works came from David Waldman, and I encourage you to read it in full.

    The Moderate Voice


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  • I use my phone's HOLD button to put callers into a submissive stupor of helplessness.

    October 15, 2008