- 1to prevent somebody from moving, using force It took three men to hold him down.
- 2to prevent somebody from having their freedom or rights The people are held down by a repressive regime.
- 1to keep something at a low level The rate of inflation must be held down.
- 2[no passive] to keep a job for some time He was unable to hold down a job after his breakdown.
- 3[no passive] (North American English, informal) to limit something, especially a noise Hold it down, will you? I'm trying to sleep!