Definition of hold verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//həʊld//
    ; NAmE NAmE//hoʊld//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they hold
    BrE BrE//həʊld//
    ; NAmE NAmE//hoʊld//
    he / she / it holds
    BrE BrE//həʊldz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//hoʊldz//
    past simple held
    BrE BrE//held//
    ; NAmE NAmE//held//
    past participle held
    BrE BrE//held//
    ; NAmE NAmE//held//
    -ing form holding
    BrE BrE//ˈhəʊldɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈhoʊldɪŋ//
    Making calls, Business meetings, Driving
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    in hand/arms
  1. 1  [transitive] hold somebody/something (+ adv./prep.) to carry something; to have somebody/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. 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. 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 somebody/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 somebody/something I don't think that branch will hold your weight.
  7. contain
  8. 5  [transitive] hold something/somebody to have enough space for something/somebody; to contain something/somebody This barrel holds 25 litres. The plane holds about 300 passengers.
  9. somebody prisoner
  10. 6  [transitive] to keep somebody and not allow them to leave hold somebody Police are holding two men in connection with last Thursday's bank raid. 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 fine weather hold? If their luck holds, they could still win the championship.
  16. keep
  17. 10  [transitive] hold something to keep somebody’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 70. 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 solicitor holds our wills. We can hold your reservation for three days.
  20. own
  21. 13  [transitive] hold something (rather formal) 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? Mrs Thatcher held the post of Prime Minister longer than anyone else last century.
  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 somebody/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 behaviour. 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 centre. It's impossible to hold a conversation with all this noise. The country is holding its first free elections for 20 years. See related entries: Business meetings
  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 See related entries: Driving
  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. Wordfinderarea code, call, dial, engaged, hold, line, message, phone, ring, voicemail See related entries: Making calls
  38. stop
  39. 23[transitive] hold something used to tell somebody 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) (North American English, informal) Give me a hot dog, but hold the (= don't give me any) mustard.
  40. Word Originverb Old English haldan, healdan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch houden and German halten; the noun is partly from Old Norse hald ‘hold, support, custody’.Extra examples This view is not widely held. deeply held religious beliefs privately held views Applicants must hold a full driving licence. Eight people were held hostage for four months. Employees do not have access to personal records held on computer. He has very firmly-held religious beliefs. He held her by the shoulders. He was born in South Africa but he holds a British passport. I don’t think that branch will hold your weight. I held the baby gently in my arms. I still hold that the government’s economic policies are mistaken. It’s impossible to hold a conversation with all this noise. Parents will be held responsible for their children’s behaviour. Police are holding two men in connection with last Thursday’s bank raid. She is held in high regard by her students. She was held captive in a castle. The captain held the trophy in the air. The company has held the advertising contract since 2005. The girl held her father’s hand tightly. The next conference will be held in Ohio. They walked along the street, holding hands.Idioms Most idioms containing hold are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example hold the fort is at fort.  to be true The same argument does not hold good in every case. (informal) used to ask somebody to wait, or not to move Hold it a second—I don't think everyone's arrived yet.
    there is no holding somebody
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    a person cannot be prevented from doing something Once she gets on to the subject of politics there's no holding her.
    Phrasal Verbshold something against somebodyhold back somebodyhold somethingbackhold back (from doing something)hold somebodydownhold somethingdownhold forthhold somethinginhold offhold off somebodyhold onhold somethingonhold onhold on to somethinghold outhold out somethinghold somethingouthold out for somethinghold out on somebodyhold somethingoverhold something over somebodyhold somebody to somethinghold togetherhold uphold up somebodyhold up somethinghold with something
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: hold