American English

Definition of hold verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they hold
    he / she / it holds
    past simple held
    -ing form holding
    jump to other results
    in hand/arms
  1. 1[transitive] hold somebody/something to carry something; to have someone or something in your hand, arms, etc. She was holding a large box. I held the mouse by its tail. The girl held her father's hand tightly. He was holding the baby in his arms. The winning captain held the trophy in the air. We were holding hands (= holding each other's hands). The lovers held each other close.
  2. 2[transitive] hold something to put your hand on part of your body, usually because it hurts She groaned and held her head.
  3. in position
  4. 3[transitive] to keep someone or something in a particular position hold something (+ adv./prep.) Hold your head up. Hold this position for a count of 10. The wood is held in position by a clamp. I had to hold my stomach in (= pull the muscles flat) to zip up my jeans. hold something + adj. I'll hold the door open for you.
  5. support
  6. 4[transitive] hold somebody/something to support the weight of someone or something I don't think that branch will hold your weight.
  7. contain
  8. 5[transitive] hold somebody/something to have enough space for something or someone; to contain something or someone This barrel holds 25 gallons. The plane holds about 300 passengers.
  9. someone prisoner
  10. 6[transitive] to keep someone and not allow them to leave hold somebody Police are holding two men in connection with last Thursday's bank robbery. hold somebody + noun He was held prisoner for two years.
  11. control
  12. 7[transitive] hold something to defend something against attack; to have control of something The rebels held the radio station.
  13. remain
  14. 8[intransitive] to remain strong and safe or in position They were afraid the dam wouldn't hold.
  15. 9[intransitive] to remain the same How long will the good weather hold? If their luck holds, they could still win the championship.
  16. keep
  17. 10[transitive] hold something to keep someone's attention or interest There wasn't much in the museum to hold my attention.
  18. 11[transitive] hold something (at something) to keep something at the same level, rate, speed, etc. Hold your speed at 50. Interest rates have been held at 8% for a year now.
  19. 12[transitive] hold something to keep something so that it can be used later records held on computer Our attorney holds our wills. We can hold your reservation for three days.
  20. own
  21. 13[transitive] hold something to own or have something Employees hold 30% of the shares.
  22. job
  23. 14[transitive] hold something to have a particular job or position How long has he held office? Franklin D. Roosevelt held the office of President longer than anyone else in U.S. history.
  24. record/title
  25. 15[transitive] hold something to have something you have gained or achieved Who holds the world record for the long jump? She held the title of world champion for three years.
  26. opinion
  27. 16[transitive] to have a belief or an opinion about someone or something hold something He holds strange views on education. hold somebody/something + adv./prep./adj. She is held in high regard by her students (= they have a high opinion of her). firmly-held beliefs
  28. 17[transitive] (formal) to consider that something is true hold that… I still hold that the government's economic policies are mistaken. hold somebody/something + adj. Parents will be held responsible for their children's behavior. be held to be something These vases are held to be the finest examples of Greek art.
  29. meeting
  30. 18[transitive, usually passive] hold something to have a meeting, competition, conversation, etc. The meeting will be held in the community center. It's impossible to hold a conversation with all this noise. The country is holding its first free elections for 20 years.
  31. road/course
  32. 19[transitive] hold the road (of a vehicle) to be in close contact with the road and easy to control, especially when driven fast
  33. 20[transitive] hold a course (of a ship or an aircraft) to continue to move in a particular direction
  34. in music
  35. 21[transitive] hold something to make a note continue for a particular time
  36. on telephone
  37. 22[intransitive, transitive] to wait until you can speak to the person you have telephoned That extension is busy right now. Can you hold? hold the line She asked me to hold the line.
  38. stop
  39. 23[transitive] hold something used to tell someone to stop doing something or not to do something Hold your fire! (= don't shoot) Hold the front page! (= don't print it until a particular piece of news is available) (informal) Give me a hot dog, but hold the (= don't give me any) mustard.
  40. Thesaurusholdhold on cling clutch grip grasp clasp hang onThese words all mean to have something or someone in your hands or arms.hold to have something or someone in your hand or arms:She was holding a large box. I held the baby gently in my arms.hold on (to somebody/something) to continue to hold something or someone; to put your hand on something or someone and not take your hand away:Hold on and don't let go until I say so.cling to hold on to something or someone tightly, especially with your whole body:Survivors clung to pieces of floating debris.clutch to hold something or someone tightly, especially in your hand; to take hold of something suddenly:She stood there, the flowers still clutched in her hand. He felt himself slipping and clutched at a branch.grip to hold on to something very tightly with your hand:Grip the rope as tightly as you can.grasp to take hold of something firmly:He grasped my hand and shook it warmly.clasp (formal) to hold something or someone tightly in your hand or in your arms:They clasped hands (= held each other's hands). She clasped the children to her breast. The object of clasp is often your hands, someone else's hand, or another person.hang on (to something) to hold on to something very tightly, especially in order to support yourself or stop yourself from falling:Hang on to the safety rope in case you slip and fall.Patterns to hold/clutch/grip/clasp something in your hand/hands to hold/clasp somebody/something in your arms to hold/hang on to something to hold/cling/hang on to hold/clutch/clasp somebody/something to you to hold/hold on to/cling to/clutch/grip/grasp/clasp/hang on to somebody/something tightly to hold/hold on to/cling to/clutch/grip/grasp/clasp somebody/something firmly to hold/hold on to/clutch/grip/clasp/hang on to somebody/something tightIdioms
    hold it (informal)
    jump to other results
    used to ask someone to wait, or not to move Hold it a second—I don't think everyone's arrived yet.
    there is no holding somebody back
    jump to other results
    a person cannot be prevented from doing something Once she gets on to the subject of politics there's no holding her back.
    Phrasal Verbshold something against somebodyhold somebodybackhold somebody/somethingbackhold somethingbackhold back (from doing something)hold somebodydownhold somethingdownhold forthhold somethinginhold offhold somebody/somethingoffhold onhold somethingonhold on (to something/somebody)hold on to somethinghold outhold out somethinghold somethingouthold out for somethinghold out on somebodyhold somethingoverhold something over somebodyhold somebody to somethinghold togetherhold uphold somebody/somethinguphold up somethinghold with something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: hold