- 1 to hold something tightly Hang on tight—we're off! Synonymsholdhold on cling clutch grip grasp clasp hang onThese words all mean to have somebody/something in your hands or arms.hold to have somebody/something 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 somebody/something; to put your hand on somebody/something and not take your hand away:Hold on and don’t let go until I say so.cling to hold on to somebody/something tightly, especially with your whole body:Survivors clung to pieces of floating debris.clutch to hold somebody/something 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. The object of grasp is often somebody’s hand or wrist.clasp (formal) to hold somebody/something tightly in your hand or in your arms:They clasped hands (= held each other’s hands). She clasped the children in her arms. The object of clasp is often your hands, somebody 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 tight. We’re off!Patterns to hold/clutch/grip/clasp something in your hand/hands to hold/catch/clasp somebody/something in your arms to hold/clutch/grip/grasp/clasp/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 tight
- 2 (informal) used to ask somebody to wait for a short time or to stop what they are doing Hang on—I'm not quite ready. Now hang on a minute—you can't really believe what you just said!
- 3to wait for something to happen I haven't heard if I've got the job yet—they've kept me hanging on for days.
- 4(informal) used on the telephone to ask somebody who is calling to wait until they can talk to the person they want Hang on—I'll just see if he's here.
- 5to continue doing something in difficult circumstances The team hung on for victory.