hold

1 verb past tense and past participle held IN YOUR HANDS/ARMS 1
a) (T) to have something firmly in your hand or arms: He was holding a knife in one hand. | Can you hold the groceries for me while I open the door? | I held the baby in my arms. | hold hands (=hold each other's hands): The couple sat, holding hands under a tree.
b) (transitive always + adv/prep) to move something that you have in your hands into a particular position: hold sth out/up/towards etc: Hold the negative up to the light so we can see.
2 HOLD SB CLOSE (T) to put your arms around someone in order to comfort them, show you love them etc: She held him tightly, wiping away his tears.
HAVE/POSSESS
3 hold a position/rank/job to have a particular job or position, especially an important or powerful one: Most of the senior positions are held by men.
4 OWN STH (T) to own or possess something, especially money or land: He holds a half share in the company.
KEEP/CONTROL
5 ARMY (T) if an army holds a place, it either defends it from attack, or controls it by using force: The French army held the town for three days.
6 KEEP SB SOMEWHERE (T) to keep a person or animal somewhere, and not allow them to leave: Police are holding two men in connection with the jewel robbery. | hold sb prisoner/hostage/captive (=to keep someone in a room, prison etc and not allow them to leave)
SAVE/STORE
7 KEEP TO BE USED (T) to keep something to be used when it is needed: Our computer holds all the records of births and deaths in Britain since 1950.
8 hold a place/seat/room etc (T) save a room, place etc for someone until they want to use it: They're holding a table for us.
KEEP STH IN A POSITION
9 (transitive always + adv/prep) to make something stay in a particular position: hold sth down/up/in place etc: Ted held the ladder firmly in place. | Can you hold the lid down so I can lock the suitcase? | It's only held on with a couple of screws. | hold sth open: Mark held open the door as she came up behind him.
10 ARM/LEG/BACK ETC (transitive always + adv/prep) to put or keep a part of your body in a particular position: hold sth up/out/straight etc: Hold out your hand and I'll give you a present!
SUPPORT/NOT BREAK
11 BE STRONG ENOUGH
a) (T) to support the weight of something: Be careful, I don't think that branch will hold you.
b) (I) to continue to be able to support the weight of something: I don't think this shelf will hold if we put any more on it.
NOT CHANGE/CONTINUE
12 AMOUNT/LEVEL (T) to make something continue at a particular rate, level, or number: hold spending to $10.2 billion | Make sure you hold your speed at 30 mph in this area.
13 hold sb's interest/attention to make someone continue being interested in something: Colourful pictures hold the students' interest.
14 WEATHER/LUCK also hold out (I) if good weather or good luck holds, it continues unchanged for a long time: If our luck holds we could reach the final.
15 MUSIC (T) to make a musical note continue for a long time
16 hold a course if an aircraft, ship etc holds a course, it continues to move in a particular direction: The ship held a northwesterly course.
17 (I) to still be true or continue to have an effect: What I said yesterday still holds.
18 hold good/hold true to still be true in several different situations: This advice will hold good throughout your life.
RESPONSIBILITY
19 hold the fort to be responsible for looking after something while the person usually responsible is not there: She's holding the fort while the manager's on holiday.
20 be left holding the baby BrE
/the bag AmE to become responsible for something that someone else has started
21 hold sb responsible/accountable (for sth) to consider someone to be responsible for something, so that they will be blamed if anything bad happens: I'll hold you personally responsible if anything happens to the boy.
OPINION/BELIEF
22 (transitive not in progressive, usually passive) formal to believe something to be true
(+ that): It is widely held that the council will decide to take military action. | hold sb/sth to be sth: It is held to be his most important novel.
23 OPINIONS hold an opinion/view/belief etc to have a particular opinion about something: She holds extreme political views. | commonly held belief (=something that many people believe to be true)
24 hold sth dear to think that something is very important: a threat to everything that I hold dear
25 hold fast to sth formal to keep believing in an idea or principles: They held fast to their faith in spite of their suffering.
STOP/DELAY STH
26 hold it! spoken
a) used to interrupt someone: Hold it a minute! I've just had a really good idea.
b) used to tell someone to wait or to stop what they are doing
27 hold everything! spoken used to tell someone to immediately stop what they are doing: Hold everything! We have to change it all back again!
28 hold your fire! a military order to tell soldiers to stop shooting
29 hold your horses! spoken used to tell someone to stop and think about something
CONTAIN/INCLUDE
30 HAVE SPACE FOR (transitive, not in progressive) to have the space to contain a particular amount of something: This pan holds three gallons of water. | The movie theater holds 500 people.
31 (T) formal if the future or a future situation holds something, that may be part of it: Who knows what the future holds?
OTHER MEANINGS
32 hold a meeting/election/party etc (T) to arrange for an event, meeting, election, party etc to happen: The meeting will be held in the Town Hall.
33 (I) also hold the line to wait until the person you have telephoned is ready to answer: Mr Stevenson's busy at the moment - would you like to hold?
34 HAVE A QUALITY (T) formal to have a particular quality: Such an emphasis on religion may hold little appeal for modern tastes.
35 hold a conversation to have a conversation
36 not hold a candle to informal to be much worse than someone or something else
37 hold all the cards to have a strong advantage in a situation
38 hold up your head to show pride or confidence in a difficult situation: I'll never be able to hold up my head in this town again.
39 hold your own to defend yourself, or to succeed, in a difficult situation: Although he is the youngest competitor, he seems to be holding his own.
40 hold the road if a car holds the road well you can drive it quickly around bends without losing control
41 not hold water if an argument, statement etc does not hold water, it does not seem to be true or reasonable: His explanation of where the money came from just doesn't hold water.
42 hold your drink/liquor/alcohol etc if someone can hold their drink, they are able to drink a lot of alcohol without becoming drunk
43 there's no holding sb spoken used when someone is so keen to do something you cannot prevent them from doing it: When he starts talking about football there's no holding him.
—see also: hold your breath breath (3), hold court court 1 (5), hold your tongue tongue (16), hold your head high high 2 (7) hold sth against sb phrasal verb (T) to allow something bad that someone has done to make you dislike them or want to harm them: It all happened years ago. You can't still hold it against him, surely? hold back phrasal verb
1 (transitive hold someone/something back) to make someone or something stop moving forward: They had erected the barriers to hold back the flood.
2 (transitive hold back something) to stop yourself from feeling or showing a particular emotion: We struggled to hold back our laughter.
3 (transitive hold someone back) to prevent someone from developing or improving: Spending so much time playing sport is holding him back at school.
4 (I) to be slow or unwilling to do something especially because you are being careful: The tone of his voice made Steven hold back.
5 (intransitive, transitive hold something back) to keep something secret: Tell me about it - don't hold anything back!
hold sth/sb down phrasal verb (T)
1 to prevent something such as prices from rising: We shall hold down prices until the new year. | the best way to hold down inflation
2 to keep people under control or limit their freedom: held down for centuries by their Ottoman conquerors
3 hold down a job to succeed in keeping a job for a period of time: He's never held down a job for longer than a few weeks.
hold forth phrasal verb (I) give your opinion on a subject, especially for a long time (+ on): Archer was holding forth on the collapse of society. hold off phrasal verb
1 (I, T) to delay something: Buyers have been holding off until the price falls. | hold off doing sth: We will hold off making our decision until Monday.
2 (transitive hold someone off) to prevent someone who is attacking you from coming any closer: We managed to hold off the gang until the police arrived.
3 (I) if rain or snow holds off, none of it falls, although you thought it would: The rain held off until after the game.
hold on phrasal verb (I)
1 hold on! spoken
a) used to tell someone to wait for a short time: Hold on, I'll just get my coat.
b) used when you have just noticed something surprising: Hold on! Isn't that your brother's car over there?
2 to wait for a short period of time: I'll hold on for another few minutes if you like. | It's coming soon, just hold on for it.
3 to continue doing something when it is very difficult to do so: They didn't know if they would be able to hold on until help arrived.
hold on to sb/sth phrasal verb (T)
1 to keep your hands or arms tightly around something so that it cannot move or you cannot fall: Hold on to the rail or you'll slip!
2 to keep something by not losing it, selling it, or having it taken from you: Despite the attacks we held on to the bridge for three more days. | I think I'll hold on to the records, but you can have the tapes.
hold out phrasal verb
1 (I) if something such as a supply of something holds out it has not all yet been finished or used: Will the water supply hold out through the summer?
2 (I) to continue to defend a place that is being attacked: They'll have to surrender - they can't hold out forever.
3 not hold out much hope/prospect of to not think that something is possible or likely to have a good result: Negotiators are no longer holding out much hope of a peaceful settlement
hold out for sth phrasal verb (T) to not accept anything less than what you have asked for: The kidnappers are still holding out for the release of all political prisoners. hold out on sb phrasal verb (T) informal to refuse to give someone information or an answer that they need: Why didn't you tell me straight away instead of holding out on me? hold over phrasal verb
1 (transitive hold something over) to do or deal with something at a later date: The game was held over until the following week because of the bad weather.
—see also: holdover
2 (hold something over someone) to use knowledge about someone to threaten them: He knows I've been in prison and is holding it over me.
3 be held over AmE if a play, film, concert etc is held over, it is shown for longer than planned, because it is very good
hold sb to sth phrasal verb (T)
1 to make someone do what they have promised: “I'll ask him tomorrow.” “All right, but I'm going to hold you to that.”
2 to prevent your opponent in a sports game from getting more than a particular number of points: We held them to 2-2.
hold together phrasal verb
1 (intransitive, transitive hold something together) if a group or organization holds together or you hold it together it stays strong and does not break apart: The party was held together by personal loyalty to the leader.
2 (I) to remain good enough to be used: I hope the washing machine holds together - I can't afford a new one.
hold up phrasal verb
1 (transitive hold something up) to support something and prevent it from falling down: The roof is held up by pillars.
2 (hold someone/something up often passive) to delay someone or something: The building work has been held up by bad weather. | Sorry we're late - we were held up at work.
3 (hold up something) to rob or try to rob a place by using violence: His brother tried to hold up the drugstore and was sent to jail.
—see also: hold­up
4 (I) to remain strong and not become weaker: His physical condition held up remarkably well.
hold sb/sth up as phrasal verb (T) to use someone or something as an example: The school is being held up as a model for other inner-city secondary schools. hold with sth phrasal verb (transitive, usually in negatives) to approve of or agree with something: We don't hold with physical violence in this school | hold with doing sth: I don't hold with letting people smoke in public places. 2 noun
1 ACTION OF HOLDING STH (singular) the action of holding something tightly; grip 2 (1): She tightened her hold on the rope. | have/keep hold of: Make sure you keep hold of my hand when we cross the road.
2 get/take/grab/seize hold of sth to take something and hold it with your hands: Grab hold of the rope and pull yourself up. | I took hold of her hand and gently led her away.
3 get hold of
a) to find or borrow something so that you can use it: I need to get hold of a car.
b) to find someone for a particular reason: I must get hold of Vanessa to see if she can babysit for me.
4 on hold waiting to speak or be spoken to on the telephone: put sb on hold: Do you mind if I put you on hold?
5 put sth on hold to delay doing or starting something
6 take hold to start to have an effect: The fever was beginning to take hold.
7 SPORT (C) a particular position that you hold an opponent in, in a sport such as wrestling or judo
8 CLIMBING (C) somewhere you can put your hands or feet when you are climbing: The cliff is steep and it's difficult to find a hold.
9 SHIP (C) the part of a ship below the deck 1 (1) where goods are stored
10 have a good hold of sth to understand something well
11 get hold of an idea/impression/story etc to learn or begin to believe something: Where on earth did you get hold of that idea?
12 have a hold over/on sb to have power or influence over someone: Ever since he found out about her past, he's had a frightening hold on her.
13 no holds barred no rules or limits: There are no holds barred when it comes to making a profit.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

Synonyms:

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  • Hold — Hold, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Held}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Holding}. {Holden}, p. p., is obs. in elegant writing, though still used in legal language.] [OE. haldan, D. houden, OHG. hoten, Icel. halda, Dan. holde, Sw. h[*a]lla, Goth. haldan to feed, tend… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hold — hold1 [hōld] vt. held, holding [ME holden < Anglian OE haldan (WS healdan), akin to Ger halten, Goth haldan, to tend sheep < IE base * kel , to drive, incite to action > Gr kelēs, swift horse, L celer, swift: prob. sense development:… …   English World dictionary

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  • Hold — Hold, v. i. In general, to keep one s self in a given position or condition; to remain fixed. Hence: [1913 Webster] 1. Not to move; to halt; to stop; mostly in the imperative. [1913 Webster] And damned be him that first cries, Hold, enough! Shak …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hold on — Hold Hold, v. i. In general, to keep one s self in a given position or condition; to remain fixed. Hence: [1913 Webster] 1. Not to move; to halt; to stop; mostly in the imperative. [1913 Webster] And damned be him that first cries, Hold, enough!… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hold up — Hold Hold, v. i. In general, to keep one s self in a given position or condition; to remain fixed. Hence: [1913 Webster] 1. Not to move; to halt; to stop; mostly in the imperative. [1913 Webster] And damned be him that first cries, Hold, enough!… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Hold — (h[=o]ld), n. 1. 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. [1913 Webster] Ne have I not twelve pence within… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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