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hold

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verb hold pronunciation in British English /həʊld/ 
Word Forms
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present tense
I/you/we/theyhold
he/she/itholds
present participleholding
past tenseheld
past participleheld
  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 catalogue under her arm.

    Barry was holding a coin between his finger and thumb.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
    1. a.
      to carry something using another part of your body

      He held the sandwich between his teeth.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
    2. b.
      to carry another person

      She was holding a baby in her arms.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  2. 2
    [transitive] to support someone or something, or to stop them moving

    Can you hold this parcel 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 torch 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.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  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.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  5. 5
    [transitive] to have something inside

    The corner cupboard holds a TV and CD player.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  6. 6
    [transitive] to be able to fit an amount of something inside

    How much does this jug hold?

    The stadium holds 80,000 people.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  7. 7
    [transitive] if you hold a meeting or event, you organize it

    The government agreed to hold a referendum.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
    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.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  8. 8
    [transitive] to have something, for example a job

    She is the first woman to hold this post.

    He held a position of trust and responsibility.

    hold office:

    President Mitterrand held office for 14 years.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
    1. a.
      to have an opinion about something

      She certainly holds some interesting views.

    2. b.
      formal to own money or property

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

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
    3. c.
      formal to have a document that allows you to do something

      He holds a US passport.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  9. 9
    [transitive] formal to have a particular quality

    The project holds a great deal of promise.

    He holds no authority over us.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
    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.
      literary if your face or voice holds a particular emotion, it shows it

      His eyes held a look of desperation.

  10. 10
    [transitive] to keep information, for example on a computer

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

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  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 overnight.

    hold someone prisoner/hostage/captive:

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

    1. b.

      hold

      or

      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. 12
    [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.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  13. 13
    [transitive] to continue to have a particular feeling, especially a bad one

    I no longer hold any resentment towards him.

    hold a grudge:

    He's not someone who holds a grudge.

  14. 14
    [transitive] to keep an idea or picture in your mind

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

  15. 15
    [intransitive] to continue to support a weight without breaking or being damaged

    I don't know if the walls will hold.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to stay or keep something at a particular level

      The price has been held at £2, the same as last year.

      hold steady:

      The coffee market has held steady for a few months.

    2. b.
      [intransitive] if a promise or offer holds, it still exists

      They were pessimistic about the ceasefire holding until the spring.

      We need to find out if his offer still holds.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
    3. d.
      [intransitive/transitive] to stay in the same position, for example when you are exercising

      Hold this position for a few seconds, then relax.

    4. e.
      [transitive] to continue to play or sing a note without stopping

      Hold that last note for a count of four.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  16. 16
    [transitive] used for saying what people believe
    hold (that):

    Conventional wisdom held that he would resign.

    One school of thought holds that very few people reach their full potential.

    1. a.
      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 trespass.

      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.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  17. 17
    [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?

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of hold
  18. 18
    [transitive] to succeed in keeping control of a particular area in an election

    The seat was held by Labour with a reduced majority.

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