holds; held/ˈhɛld/; holding holds; held/ˈhɛld/; holding
Learner's definition of HOLD
1 a : to have or keep (something) in your hand, arms, etc.
b : to put your arms around (someone): to embrace or hug (someone)
Hold the rail so you won't fall.
He was holding his hat (in his hand).
He was holding a large package in his arms.
Would you hold this for me?
She showed him the correct way to hold the racket.
She held his hand. = She held him by the hand.
2 a [+ object] : to put or keep (something or someone) in a specified place or position
b [+ object] : to keep (something or someone) in the same place or position
He held the pen in his mouth while he dialed the number.
Hold the pen upright when you write.
She picked up the trophy and held it over her head.
You have to hold the button down for several seconds.
I held the door open for her.
Hold your arms at your sides.
c [no object] : to remain in the same place or position
I need someone to hold this string while I finish tying the knot.
She held the ladder steady while he climbed up it.
It took six guards to hold him (down).
The board was held in place/position by a couple of nails.
The Federal Reserve has been holding interest rates down/up.
The cover was held on by a piece of tape.
The anchor held.
The line of soldiers held under constant attack.
Please hold still for a moment.
His weight has held steady for several months now.
3 [no object] : to continue to be good
4 a : to own or possess (something) b : to have or keep (a job, a position, etc.)
c : to succeed in keeping (something that is being attacked) d : to have (something that you have achieved or earned)
She has never before held public office.
It's been a struggle for him to hold a job.
In the last election the Democratic party managed to hold several seats but lost others.
President Franklin Roosevelt held office for 12 years. = Franklin Roosevelt held the office of president for 12 years.
5 [+ object] : to support the pressure or weight of (something or someone)
6 a : to have or keep (a belief, a feeling, etc.) in your mind
b somewhat formal : to consider or judge (someone or something) in a specified way— often + for— often followed by to + verb c not used in progressive tenses, somewhat formal : to have or express (an opinion, belief, etc.)— + that— sometimes used figuratively
There's no need for him to hold [=bear] a grudge against me.
I don't hold any resentment toward/against him.
a belief held by many = a widely held belief
I will always hold that memory in my heart.
7 [+ object] : to cause (a meeting, class, sale, etc.) to take place
A sale will be held next weekend.
Free elections will be held next month.
We will hold [=have] the meeting at 2 o'clock.
The President has decided to hold [=give] a press conference.
They're holding an art show at the gallery.
The two sides will hold [=have] talks/discussions to resolve the dispute.
8 a : to contain (something) b not used in progressive tenses : to have enough room for (an amount)
The disk can hold 1.44 megabytes of data.
How much water can that bucket hold?
The bottle holds two liters.
The dining room holds 500 people.
9 [+ object] : to continue to have (someone's interest or attention) 10 [+ object] : to have (a specified quality, feature, etc.)
— often + for
His eyes held [=had] a quizzical look.
She has always held a special place in my heart. [=I have always had special feelings for her]
This hotel has long held [=claimed] a place among the world's finest. [=has long been considered one of the world's finest]
Music holds great appeal for many people. [=music appeals greatly to many people]
His job holds no surprises for him. [=nothing about his job surprises him]
Her paintings hold a real fascination for me. [=her paintings fascinate me]
No one can know what the future holds (for us). [=no one can know what will happen (to us) in the future]
These experiments hold great promise for future cancer research.
11 [+ object] : to stop doing (something) or wait to do (something)
Tell the men to hold their fire [=not shoot] until I give the order.
Hold everything. [=wait; stop] We're not doing this right.
Hold it right there. [=stop right there] Where do you think you're going?
12 a : to keep (something) available for later use b : to delay the handling of (something, such as a telephone call) for a time 13 [+ object] : to prevent (something, such as a vehicle) from leaving 14 [+ object], chiefly US : to not use or include (something) in preparing food 15 [+ object] : to force (someone) to stay in a place (such as a prison)
— sometimes used figuratively
The police are holding him for questioning.
Terrorists are holding the passengers hostage.
They're being held hostage/captive/prisoner.
16 [+ object] : to continue moving on (a course) without change 17 [+ object], of a vehicle : to stay on (a road) in a safe and secure way when being driven at high speeds 18 [no object] : to be true: to remain valid— often used in the phrases hold true and (less commonly) hold good
The general rule holds true in most cases.
Their son needs support and understanding. The same holds true for all children.
The advice she gave us 10 years ago still holds good today.
19 : to wait to speak to someone on the telephone
hold against[phrasal verb]
hold (something) against (someone)
: to use (something) as a reason to have a bad opinion of (someone)
He lied to her once, and she still holds it against him.
Nobody is going to hold it against you if you don't come. [=no one is going to be angry or upset with you if you don't come]
hold a gun to someone's head
hold (all/all of) the cards
hold back[phrasal verb]
1 a : to stop yourself from doing something b : to make a less than complete effort c hold (someone) back : to stop (someone) from doing something
hold (something) back or hold back (something)
2 a : to not allow (something) to be seen or known by someone
b : to keep (something) c : to delay (something)
He was unable to hold back his tears. [=to keep from crying]
The government held back [=withheld] some crucial information from the media.
I know you're angry, so don't hold anything back (from me). [=tell me everything]
3 hold (someone or something) back or hold back (someone or something) : to stop (someone or something) from moving forward: to stop (someone or something) from advancing to the next level, grade, or stage
She might have been more successful, but bad health held her back.
He was held back [=kept back] in first grade.
hold down[phrasal verb]
hold (something) down or hold down (something)
1 a : to stop (something) from being or becoming too high b : to continue to have (a job) 2 hold (someone) down or hold down (someone) : to stop (someone) from doing something or advancing to a higher level, position, etc.
: to refuse to change what you have been doing or believing
They are holding firm on their refusal to proceed.
Despite opposition, she has held firm to her decision.
hold forth[phrasal verb]formal
: to speak about something for a long time
hold handsorhold someone's hand
hold in[phrasal verb]
hold (something) in or hold in (something)
: to stop (an emotion) from being expressed
hold off[phrasal verb]
1 a : to wait to do something — often + on b : to not happen until later
◊ If you hold off doing something or hold off on doing something, you wait to do it at a later time.
2 hold (someone) off or hold off (someone) : to stop (someone) from coming near someone or something 3 hold (something) off or hold off (something) : to defend against (something) successfully
hold on[phrasal verb]
1 : to have or keep your hand, arms, etc., tightly around something
He was holding on [=hanging on] for dear life.
Hold on (tight). It's going to get bumpy.
The steps are slippery; you'd better hold on to the railing.
2 : to succeed in keeping a position, condition, etc. 3 : to wait or stop briefly 4 hold on to (something) : to keep possession of (something): to not lose or give up (something)
hold out[phrasal verb]
1 a : to continue to exist or be available
b : to continue to work
I don't know how much longer our supply of food will hold out. [=last]
You should do it while your courage is still holding out.
I'm going to keep writing as long as my money holds out.
2 : to continue to oppose someone or defend against something: to refuse to surrender or give in
hold out (something) or hold (something) out
3 a : to reach outward with (something, such as your hand)— sometimes used figuratively b : to say that there is a good reason to have (something, such as hope) c : to say that (a possibility) exists 4 hold out for (something) : to refuse to accept or agree to something in order to get (something) 5 hold out on (someone)informal : to keep something (such as information) from (someone)
hold over[phrasal verb]
hold over (something) or hold (something) over
1 a : to cause (something) to happen later b US : to cause (something) to continue beyond a normal or planned time 2 hold (something or someone) over or hold over (something or someone) : to keep (something or someone) from an earlier time 3 hold (something) over (someone) : to use your knowledge of (something) to influence or control the behavior of (someone)
hold the bag(US)informalor Britishhold the baby
: to be given all of the blame or responsibility that should be shared with others
hold to[phrasal verb]
1 a hold to (something) : to continue to have or follow (a plan, purpose, etc.): to not change (a decision, belief, etc.) b hold (someone) to (something) : to force (someone) to do what is required by (something, such as a promise) 2 hold (someone) to (something) : to prevent (an opponent) from having or getting more than (a specified number of scores or shots)
hold together[phrasal verb]
1 : to stay joined together or in one piece 2 hold (something) together or hold together (something) : to cause (something) to stay joined together or in one piece
hold up[phrasal verb]
1 : to continue in the same condition without failing or losing effectiveness or force
The sales team was holding up well under the stress.
The nurse came in to see how I was holding up.
Their music still holds up 20 years later.
2 hold (something) up or hold up (something) : to raise (something)
hold up (something or someone) or hold (something or someone) up
3 a : to delay, stop, or slow the movement, progress, or action of (something or someone)
b : to use a gun to rob (a person, store, etc.) c : to cause (someone or something) to be noticed for a particular reason
Their decision was held up for months.
A major accident held traffic up for hours.
She was late for the meeting because she got held up in traffic.
hold with[phrasal verb]
hold with (something)
: to agree with or approve of (something)— usually used in negative statements
hold your own
: to do well in a difficult situation
It was a tough interview, but she managed to hold her own.
She's been holding her own against cancer.
hold your tonguealsohold your peace
: to keep silent: to not say anything about something
Learner's definition of HOLD
1 : the act of holding or gripping something
[count]— usually singular
[noncount]— often used figuratively
The idea of being an actress first took/grabbed hold of her when she was in college. [=she first became excited by the idea when she was in college]
Jealousy took hold of him. [=he began to feel very jealous]
2 [count] : a way of holding your opponent in wrestling
3 a : power that is used to control something or someone
b : an understanding of something— usually + on
His ideas have lost their hold on/over the public. [=the public is no longer interested in his ideas]
The law has no hold over her.
He is trying to tighten his hold on the company's finances. [=to gain greater control of the company's finances]
He has a hold on her. [=he has power over her; he controls her]
4 [count] : something that can be held or stepped on for support while you are climbing 5 [singular] : an order that something is to be kept for a particular person or time 6 [count] : an area on a ship or airplane where cargo is stored
get hold ofor chiefly USget a hold of
1 : to get possession of (something): to succeed in getting (something) 2 : to find and talk to (someone): to contact (someone)
I need to talk to my lawyer, but I haven't been able to get hold of him.
I've been trying to get a hold of [=get in touch with] my lawyer for days.
3 get hold of yourself
or chiefly USget a hold of yourself: to get control of your thoughts and emotions and stop behaving in a foolish or uncontrolled way
lay hold of
1 : to take and hold (something) 2 : to understand (something)
no holds barred
◊ If there are no holds barred, there are no limits or rules for what can and cannot be done in a particular situation.
1 : in the state of waiting to speak to someone on the telephone
The person I wanted to speak to wasn't available, so the operator put my call on hold.
They kept me on hold for hours!
2 : in the state of being delayed for a time
take holdor chiefly UStake a hold
: to become effective, established, or popular