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Definition of “hold” - English Dictionary

"hold" in American English

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 us   /hoʊld/ (past tense and past participle held  /held/ )
  • hold verb (TAKE FIRMLY)

[I/T] to take and ​keep something in ​yourhand or ​arms: [T] The ​nurse held the ​child in her ​arms. [I] Hold ​tight (= ​firmly) to the ​railing.
[I/T] If you hold ​yournose, you ​pressyournosetightly between ​thumb and ​finger to ​close it.
hold hands
When two ​people hold ​hands, each one ​takes the other person’s ​hand in his or her ​hand, esp. to show ​affection.
  • hold verb (MOVE AWAY)

[always + adv/prep] to move something away from ​yourbody: [M] Rosie held an ​apple out to the ​horse. [M] Close ​youreyes and hold out ​yourhands. [M] All those who ​agree, ​please hold ​yourhand up.
  • hold verb (KEEP IN PLACE)

[always + adv/prep] to ​keep something in a ​particularplace or ​position: [M] Could you hold the ​dooropen for me, ​please? [M] I can’t ​fasten this ​skirtunless I hold my ​stomach in (= ​keep it ​tight with my ​muscles so that it does not ​stick out). [M] Each ​wheel is held on by/with four ​bolts. [M] Individual ​parts are held together with ​glue. [I] Hold still (= Do not move)!
  • hold verb (CONTINUE)

[I/T] to ​continue or ​cause to ​continue in the same way as before: [I] If the ​weather holds, we can go ​sailing. [T] The ​ship held ​itscourse. [T] She ​seemed to hold the ​note she was ​singing for more than a ​minute.
holds true
If something holds ​true, it ​continues to be ​true: Einstein’s ​theories still hold ​true today.
  • hold verb (DELAY)

[I/T] to ​stop something from ​happening, or to ​delay something ​temporarily: [T] How ​long can you hold ​yourbreath?
[I/T] Someone on the ​telephone who ​asks you to hold ​wants you to ​wait until that ​person or someone ​else can ​speak to you: [I] Her ​line is ​busy, would you like to hold?
[I/T] If you hold something that is usually ​included in ​food, you do not ​include it: [T] I’d like a ​salad, but hold the ​dressing.
  • hold verb (CONTAIN/SUPPORT)

[T] to ​support or ​contain something or be ​able to ​contain or ​support it: This ​bottle holds ​exactly one ​pint. Modern ​computers can hold (= ​store)hugeamounts of ​information. Will the ​rope be ​strong enough to hold the ​weight?
holds promise
If something holds ​promise, it is ​likely to be ​successful: The new ​drug holds ​promise for ​relievingchronicpain.
  • hold verb (CONTROL)

[T] to ​keepcontrol or ​possession of something: His ​speech held the audience’s ​attention for over an ​hour. He was held ​prisoner for three ​days. After many ​days of ​fighting, the ​rebels now hold the ​town. The ​champion held the ​lead until the last ​lap.
[T] If someone who ​committed a ​crime is held, that ​person is ​keptguarded in a ​policestation.
[T] If you hold a ​job or a ​financialaccount, you have it: He ​currently holds the ​position of ​managingeditor. She holds three different ​accounts with the same ​bank.
  • hold verb (CAUSE TO HAPPEN)

[T] to ​organize or ​cause a ​meeting, ​election, or ​socialevent to ​happen: The ​election will be held on the 8th of ​November. We’re holding ​ourannual New Year’s ​Dayparty again.
  • hold verb (BELIEVE)

[T] to ​believe an ​idea or ​opinion to be ​correct, or to ​state that something is ​true: He holds ​unpopularviews on many ​subjects. I hold him ​responsible for the ​damage to my ​car. [+ that clause] Murphy’s ​law holds that if anything can go ​wrong, it ​probably will.


 us   /hoʊld/
  • hold noun (FIRM SUPPORT)

[U] the ​act of taking and ​keeping something in ​yourhand or ​arms, or the way you do this: Don’t ​lose hold of the dog’s ​leash. If you can get/​grab/take hold of that end of the ​box, I’ll take this end and we’ll ​lift it.
  • hold noun (DELAY)

on hold
If something is on hold, it is ​intentionallydelayed: The ​spacelaunch is on hold until the ​weatherclears.
If you are on hold when using the ​telephone, you are ​waiting to ​speak to someone: His ​line is ​busy – can I put you on hold?
  • hold noun (CONTROL)

[U] control or ​power over something or someone: The ​team is ​strengtheningits hold on first ​place. She has a ​strong hold on her ​daughters.
  • hold noun (SPACE)

[C] the ​space in a ​ship or ​aircraft where ​goods are ​carried
  • hold noun (POSITION IN SPORTS)

[C] (in some ​sports) a ​position in which one ​personprevents another from ​moving: In ​karate, ​beginnerslearn several ​simple holds.
(Definition of hold from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"hold" in British English

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uk   /həʊld/  us   /hoʊld/ (held, held)
  • hold verb (SUPPORT)

A2 [T] to take and ​keep something in ​yourhand or ​arms: Can you hold the ​bag while I ​open the ​door? He was holding a ​gun. The little ​girl held her mother's hand. He held her in his ​arms. [+ obj + adj ] Could you hold the ​door open, ​please? Rosie held out an ​apple for the ​horse. All those who ​agree, ​please hold upyourhand (= ​raiseyourarm).
[T] to ​support something: Will the ​rope be ​strong enough to hold my ​weight? Each ​wheel is held on with four ​bolts. The ​parts are held together with ​glue.
hold your nose
to ​pressyournosetightly between ​thumb and ​finger in ​order to ​close it: I have to hold my ​nose when I ​jump into ​water.
hold hands
A2 When two ​people hold ​hands, one ​person holds the other person's ​hand, ​especially to show that they ​love each other: They ​walked along holding ​hands.
See also

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  • hold verb (CONTAIN)

B1 [T not continuous] to ​contain or be ​able to ​contain something: This ​jug holds ​exactly one ​pint. One ​bag won't hold all of the ​shopping - we'd ​better take two. Computers can hold ​hugeamounts of ​information.
[T not continuous] If you say that the ​future holds something, you ​mean that that thing will ​happen: Who can ​tell what the ​future holds?
[T not continuous] to have a ​particularquality: She's very ​religious, so ​death holds no ​fear for her.

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  • hold verb (CONTROL)

C1 [T] to have something, ​especially a ​position or ​money, or to ​control something: He ​currently holds the ​position of ​technicalmanager. The ​bank holds ​largereserves of ​gold. Despite ​incurringheavylosses, the ​rebels now hold the ​town and the ​surroundinghills.

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  • hold verb (IN A COMPETITION)

B2 [T] to have a ​particularposition in a ​competition: She holds the ​world record. They held the lead until the 89th ​minute.
  • hold verb (KEEP)

C1 [T] to ​keep something, ​especially when it might have been ​lost: I ​asked the ​shop to hold the ​dress for me until this ​afternoon. You have to be a ​fairly good ​speaker to hold an audience's attention/​interest.
B2 [T] to ​keep someone in a ​place so that they cannot ​leave: The ​police are holding several ​people in ​custody (= at the ​policestation) for ​questioning. [+ obj + noun ] The ​terrorists held him hostage for 18 ​months. I was held prisoner in a ​tinyatticroom.

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  • hold verb (MAKE HAPPEN)

B1 [T] to have something such as a ​meeting or an ​election: Could we hold a ​meeting to ​discuss this ​tomorrowafternoon? The ​election will be held on 8 ​August. I ​find it's ​almostimpossible to hold a ​sensibleconversation with her.

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  • hold verb (CONTINUE)

[I or T] to ​cause to ​stay or ​continue in the same way as before: Let's ​hopeour good ​luck holds. I ​hope the ​repair holds until we get the ​car to a ​garage. The ​oldadage that ​moneytalks still holds true (= is still ​true). The ​government is ​committed to holding ​exports at ​theirpresentlevel. The ​ship/​aircraft held ​itscourse.
  • hold verb (BELIEVE)

[T not continuous] to ​believe an ​idea or ​opinion: You ​sold it to me, so if it ​breaks I'll hold you responsible (= ​consider you to ​blame). [+ to infinitive] formal a ​legaldecision that we hold to be ​unconstitutional

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  • hold verb (DELAY)

[I or T] to ​wait, or to ​stop something ​temporarily: They've ​decided to hold all ​futuredeliveries until the ​invoice has been ​paid. How ​long can you hold ​your breath (= ​stopbreathing)? Will you hold my ​calls for the next ​halfhourplease? She's on the ​phone at the ​moment - will you hold (the ​line) (= ​wait on the ​phone until she can ​speak to you)?


uk   /həʊld/  us   /hoʊld/
  • hold noun (SUPPORT)

B2 [S or U] the ​act of holding something or someone, or the way you do this: Keep a ​tight hold onyourtickets. Don't ​worry if you lose hold of the ​reins - the ​horse won't ​wander off.
catch/get/grab/take hold of sth/sb
B2 to ​start holding something or someone: He took hold of one end of the ​carpet and ​tugged. I just ​managed to ​grab hold of Lucy before she ​fell in the ​pool.
[C] in ​fightingsports, a ​position in which one ​person holds another ​person so that they cannot ​move
[C] a ​place to put the ​hands and ​feet, ​especially when ​climbing

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  • hold noun (DELAY)

on hold
C1 If you are on hold when using the ​phone, you are ​waiting to ​speak to someone: Mr Briggs is on hold. He's on the ​phone at the moment- can I put you on hold?
C1 If an ​activity is on hold, it has been ​intentionallydelayed: Everything's on hold again because of the ​badweather. The ​movie has been put on hold until the ​financialsituationimproves.
(Definition of hold from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"hold" in Business English

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uk   us   /həʊld/ (held, held)
[T] to have something, especially a ​position or ​money, or to ​control something: hold power/control The ​CEO holds ​power only as ​long as the ​directorsapprove of his ​methods.hold a stake/an interest/shares The ​bank holds an ​interest in the ​realestatecompany.hold a position/job/post Before taking his ​presentpost, he held the ​position of ​chieffinancialregulator.hold a mortgage/loan She holds the ​mortgage, so she has the ​right to ​foreclose on the ​property.hold the rights to sth Who holds the ​rights to ​screen these games?hold a patent The world's largest ​biotechfirm holds ​patents on the DNA ​sequences of thousands of ​varieties of ​grain.
[T] to ​keep something, especially when it might be needed in the future: Accountants ​recommend holding ​records for more than seven ​years. Ten ​seats are being held for the ​chiefexecutives.hold stocks/supplies We hold large ​stocks of all these ​items, and are generally able to ​guaranteenext-daydelivery.
[T] FINANCE to ​keepmoney or an ​investment, and not ​sell it: We'll hold the ​bonds until the resale ​marketimproves. For these ​stocks, the ​recommendation is: Hold!
See also
[T] to contain or be able to contain a ​number of ​people or things: Each ​container can hold 500 ​pounds of ​cargo. The ​auditorium is ​designed to hold 1,000 ​people.
[T] MEETINGS to make an ​event, especially a ​meeting, ​happen: hold a ​meeting/​conference/​conferencecall The ​softwaredevelopmentconference is ​scheduled to be held in San Francisco in April.
[I or T] FINANCE to ​stay, or make something ​stay, at the same ​level as before: hold a rate/price/tax The Federal Reserve held ​interestrates at 3%. The ​Chancellor is expected to hold ​capitalgainstax at its ​presentrate. The ​markets held ​steady, despite the ​report of ​higherinflation.
[T] LAW to make a ​judgment in a ​court of ​law: A ​superiorcourtjudge held that the ​plaintiff had no ​legalclaim to ​royalties.
[I or T] COMMUNICATIONS to wait when you are ​phoning until you can ​talk to the ​person that you want to speak to: He'll answering another ​callright now. Can you hold? Please hold the ​line. I'll ​try to ​connect you.
hold all the cards
to be in a ​strongposition when you are ​competing with someone else, because you have all the ​advantages: Management holds all the ​cards when it comes to the ​negotiations over ​jobcuts.
hold the floor
MEETINGS to speak in a ​formalsituation, such as at a ​conference or ​meeting: Martin held the ​floor for almost an hour.
hold down the fort (UK hold the fort)
WORKPLACE to ​deal with a ​situation, or do someone's ​job, while they are away: She went off on ​vacation, ​leaving me to hold down the fort. Will you hold the fort while I go for ​lunch?
hold your ground
to ​keep or ​defend an ​opinion or an ​idea, ​even when other ​people do not ​agree with you: We'll hold our ​ground until they ​accept our ​changes to the ​contract.
hold sb's hand
to ​help someone to do something, especially when it is a new or difficult ​task: A ​callcentertechnician held my ​hand as he ​talked me through ​installing the ​hardware. You shouldn't really need your ​boss to hold your ​hand any ​longer.
hold office
GOVERNMENT, POLITICS to have a ​position of ​authority, especially in ​government: A ​president can only hold ​office for two ​terms of four ​years each. Things were not very different when the previous ​government held ​office.
hold your own
to continue to be in a ​strong or fairly ​strongposition, ​even when there are difficulties: hold your own against sb/sth They held their own against ​heavilymarketedoverseasbrands.
hold the purse strings
to ​control when and how ​money is ​spent: Head ​office holds the ​purse strings, and we'll need ​approval to ​buy any new ​equipment.
hold the reins
to be in ​control of something: He ​currently holds the reins at one of the fastest ​growingmobilecommunicationsbusinesses in the country.
hold sth in reserve
to ​keep something until a ​time when it is needed for a particular ​purpose: Four million ​additionaltons of ​grain are held in ​reserve each month.
hold sway
formal to have ​control or ​influence over someone or something: Party ​leaders held sway over the ​hearings.
hold title
PROPERTY to have or ​control the ​rights to ​land, ​buildings, or other ​property: hold title to sth She held ​title to the ​property and all ​mineralrights.
hold (its) value
to not ​fall in ​price: The older ​models haven't held ​value as much as ​collectorsanticipated.


uk   us   /həʊld/
[S] power or ​control over someone or something: a hold over sb/sth With the new ​law, ​Congressstrengthened its hold over ​mortgagerates.a hold on sth They're ​keeping their ​strong hold on the ​smartphonemarket. a strong/​tight hold keep/​tighten/​lose your hold
[C or U] STOCK MARKET a suggestion that someone should not ​sell the ​shares that they own in a ​company, but that they should not ​buy any new ​shares: Analysts ​changed "​buys" to "holds" after the ​annualreport appeared. We have recently ​downgraded our ​recommendation for the Forest Group to "Hold".
See also
[C] BANKING a delay by a ​bank to prevent ​money from being taken from an ​account: It took three days for the hold on the ​payment to be ​cleared.
[C] TRANSPORT the ​place on a ​ship or ​aircraft where ​goods are ​carried: Inspectors ​examined the hold to ​look for stowaways.
on hold
not being done now, but perhaps being done later: Any new ​building has been put on hold until the ​economyimproves.
not ​changing or ​moving: The ​dollar is on hold at the same ​level it was at a ​year ago.
COMMUNICATIONS waiting for someone to ​return to or to begin a ​phoneconversation: Technical ​support had me on hold for 20 ​minutes while they ​researched my ​question. I'll just put you on hold while I ​ask my ​manager about this.
take hold
to ​start to have an ​effect: New ​stimulusfunds took hold in ​time to ​keepunemploymentlow.
(Definition of hold from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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