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hold - definition and synonyms


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verb hold pronunciation in American English /hoʊld/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleholding
past tenseheld
past participleheld
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  1. 1
    [transitive] to carry something using your hands or arms

    Can you hold my bag for a moment?

    hold something in/under/between something:

    He held the book in his hand.

    She was holding the catalog under her arm.

    Barry was holding a coin between his finger and thumb.

    1. a.
      to carry something using another part of your body

      He held the thread between his teeth.

    2. b.
      to carry another person

      She was holding a baby in her arms.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to support someone or something, or to stop them from moving

    Can you hold the wrapping paper for me so I can tape it up?

    He was held by a single rope.

    hold something steady:

    We had to hold our cups steady as the boat rocked.

    hold something shut/still/apart etc.:

    Hold the flashlight still.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to put a part of your body into a particular position

    She was holding her hand to her heart.

    Ruth held her head in her hands.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to put your arms around someone because you love them or because they are unhappy

    He sat beside her and held her.

    hold someone tight/close:

    She kissed him and held him tight.

  5. 5
    [transitive] to have something inside

    The cabinet holds a TV and CD player.

  6. 6
    [transitive] to be able to fit an amount of something inside

    How much does this pitcher hold?

    The stadium holds 80,000 people.

  7. 7
    [transitive] to have something, for example a job

    She is the first woman to hold this post.

    hold office:

    President Mitterrand held office for 14 years.

    1. a.
      to have an opinion about something
    2. b.
      formal to own money or property

      Three per cent of our shares are now held by U.S. investors.

    3. c.
      formal to have a document that allows you to do something
  8. 8
    [intransitive] if a promise or offer holds, it still exists

    We need to find out if his offer still holds.

    They were pessimistic about the ceasefire holding until the spring.

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to stay or keep something at a particular level

      The price has been held at its current level.

      hold steady:

      The coffee market has held steady for a few months.

    2. b.
      [intransitive] to continue to support a weight without breaking or being damaged

      I don’t know if the bridge will hold.

    3. d.
      [transitive] to continue to play or sing a note without stopping

      Hold that last note for a count of four.

      Synonyms and related words
    4. e.
      [intransitive/transitive] to stay in the same position, for example when you are exercising

      Hold this position for a few seconds, then relax.

  9. 9
    [transitive] to keep information, for example on a computer

    I wanted to see what information the police held on me.

  10. 10
    [transitive] to not give something that someone wants to another person
    hold a table/reservation/room/seat:

    They said they’d hold the reservation for 24 hours.

  11. 11
    [transitive] [often passive] to keep someone somewhere as a prisoner

    They were arrested and held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

    hold someone at gunpoint:

    The family were held at gunpoint.

    hold someone prisoner/hostage/captive:

    The four men had been held captive for over two years.

    1. a.
      to stop a train, airplane, etc. from leaving at the right time, so that someone who is late can get on it
    2. b.



      hold on to

      to stop someone from leaving or from doing what they want

      It seemed that no man could hold her for long.

  12. 13
    [transitive] formal if a court or judge holds that something is true, the court or judge says that it is true
    hold (that):

    The court held that the defendants were guilty of trespassing.

    be held to be something:

    The clause was held to be unreasonable.

    be held to have done something:

    The plaintiff was held to have acted reasonably.

  13. 14
    [transitive] if you hold a meeting or event, you organize it
    1. a.
      [often passive] if a meeting or event is held in a particular place or at a particular time, it takes place there at that time

      The presidential election was held on April 26.

  14. 15
    [intransitive/transitive] to wait in order to speak to someone on the telephone. You can also say that you hold the line

    “Do you want to call back later?” “No, I’ll hold.”

    Can you hold the line, please?

  15. 16
    [transitive] formal to have a particular quality

    He holds no authority over us.

    1. a.
      used for talking about the feelings that something makes you have. For example, if something holds no fear for you, you are not afraid of it

      Food still held no appeal.

      Water seems to hold a fascination for him.

    2. b.
  16. 17
    [transitive] to continue to have a particular feeling, especially a bad one

    I no longer hold any resentment toward him.

    hold a grudge:

    He’s not someone who holds a grudge.

  17. 18
    [transitive] to keep an idea or picture in your mind

    I tried to hold his image in my mind as I walked away.



to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

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the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

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