v. & n.
—v. (past and past part. held)
1 tr. a keep fast; grasp (esp. in the hands or arms). b (also refl.) keep or sustain (a thing, oneself, one's head, etc.) in a particular position (hold it to the light; held himself erect). c grasp so as to control (hold the reins).
2 tr. (of a vessel etc.) contain or be capable of containing (the jug holds two pints; the hall holds 900).
3 tr. possess, gain, or have, esp.: a be the owner or tenant of (land, property, stocks, etc.) (holds the farm from the trust). b gain or have gained (a degree, record, etc.) (holds the long-jump record). c have the position of (a job or office). d have (a specified card) in one's hand. e keep possession of (a place, a person's thoughts, etc.) esp. against attack (held the fort against the enemy; held his place in her estimation).
4 intr. remain unbroken; not give way (the roof held under the storm).
5 tr. observe; celebrate; conduct (a meeting, festival, conversation, etc.).
6 tr. a keep (a person etc.) in a specified condition, place, etc. (held him prisoner; held him at arm's length). b detain, esp. in custody (hold him until I arrive).
7 tr. a engross (a person or a person's attention) (the book held him for hours). b dominate (held the stage).
8 tr. (foll. by to) make (a person etc.) adhere to (terms, a promise, etc.).
9 intr. (of weather) continue fine.
10 tr. (often foll. by to + infin., or that + clause) think; believe (held it to be self-evident; held that the earth was flat).
11 tr. regard with a specified feeling (held him in contempt).
12 tr. a cease; restrain (hold your fire). b US colloq. withhold; not use (a burger please, and hold the onions!).
13 tr. keep or reserve (will you hold our seats please?).
14 tr. be able to drink (liquor) without effect (can't hold his drink).
15 tr. (usu. foll. by that + clause) (of a judge, a court, etc.) lay down; decide.
16 intr. keep going (held on his way).
17 tr. Mus. sustain (a note).
18 intr. archaic restrain oneself.
1 a grasp (catch hold of him; keep a hold on him).
2 (often in comb.) a thing to hold by (seized the handhold).
3 (foll. by on, over) influence over (has a strange hold over them).
4 a manner of holding in wrestling etc.
5 archaic a fortress.
Phrases and idioms:
hold (a thing) against (a person) resent or regard it as discreditable to (a person). hold aloof avoid communication with people etc. hold back 1 impede the progress of; restrain.
2 keep (a thing) to or for oneself.
3 (often foll. by from) hesitate; refrain. hold-back n. a hindrance. hold one's breath see BREATH. hold by (or to) adhere to (a choice, purpose, etc.). hold cheap not value highly; despise. hold the clock on time (a sporting event etc.). hold court preside over one's admirers etc., like a sovereign. hold dear regard with affection. hold down 1 repress.
2 colloq. be competent enough to keep (one's job etc.). hold everything! (or it!) cease action or movement.
hold the fort
1 act as a temporary substitute.
2 cope in an emergency.
1 offer (an inducement etc.).
2 usu. derog. speak at length or tediously. hold good (or true) be valid; apply. hold one's ground see GROUND(1). hold one's hand see HAND. hold a person's hand give a person guidance or moral support. hold hands grasp one another by the hand as a sign of affection or for support or guidance. hold hard! stop!; wait! hold harmless Law indemnify. hold one's head high behave proudly and confidently. hold one's horses colloq. stop; slow down. hold in keep in check, confine. hold it good think it advisable.
hold the line
1 not yield.
2 maintain a telephone connection. hold one's nose compress the nostrils to avoid a bad smell.
1 delay; not begin.
2 keep one's distance.
1 keep one's grasp on something.
2 wait a moment.
3 (when telephoning) not ring off.
1 stretch forth (a hand etc.).
2 offer (an inducement etc.).
3 maintain resistance.
4 persist or last. hold out for continue to demand. hold out on colloq. refuse something to (a person). hold over postpone. hold-over n. US a relic. hold something over threaten (a person) constantly with something. hold one's own see OWN. hold to bail Law bind by bail. hold to a draw manage to achieve a draw against (an opponent thought likely to win).
2 cause to cohere. hold one's tongue colloq. be silent.
hold to ransom
1 keep (a person) prisoner until a ransom is paid.
2 demand concessions from by threats of esp. damaging action.
1 a support; sustain. b maintain (the head etc.) erect.
2 exhibit; display.
3 arrest the progress of; obstruct.
4 stop and rob by violence or threats.
1 a stoppage or delay by traffic, fog, etc.
2 a robbery, esp. by the use of threats or violence. hold water (of reasoning) be sound; bear examination. hold with (usu. with neg.) colloq. approve of (don't hold with motor bikes). left holding the baby left with unwelcome responsibility. take hold (of a custom or habit) become established. there is no holding him (or her etc.) he (or she etc.) is restive, high-spirited, determined, etc. with no holds barred with no restrictions, all methods being permitted.
Etymology: OE h(e)aldan, heald
n. a cavity in the lower part of a ship or aircraft in which the cargo is stowed.
Etymology: obs. holl f. OE hol (orig. adj. = hollow), rel. to HOLE, assim. to HOLD(1)
Useful english dictionary. 2012.