Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

hold - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun hold pronunciation in American English /hoʊld/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [singular] the fact that you are holding someone or something
    hold on:

    His hold on her arm tightened.

    The boat turned over and she lost her hold.

  2. 2
    [countable] a way of holding someone, for example in a sport

    a wrestling hold

  3. 3
    [singular] the power or control that someone has over a situation or area
    hold on/over:

    Their forces had consolidated their hold on the area.

    1. a.
      power that you have over someone, especially because of something that you know about them

      How is it he’s got such a strong hold over you?

  4. 4
    [countable] the area in an airplane or ship that is used for goods, vehicles, or suitcases
  5. 5
    [countable] a place where you put your foot or hand so that you do not fall, for example when you are climbing
  6. 6
    [singular] the fact that someone manages to continue doing or having something
    hold on:

    The nurses were amazed at her tenacious hold on life.

    new threats to his hold on power



used to describe something which is done more carefully and over a longer period of time …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the practice of giving birth in the presence of several friends and relatives

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play