Etymology: Middle English, from Old English healdan; akin to Old High German haltan to hold, and perhaps to Latin celer rapid, Greek klonos agitation
Date: before 12th century
a. to have possession or ownership of or have at one's disposal <holds property worth millions> <the bank holds the title to the car> b. to have as a privilege or position of responsibility <hold a professorship> c. to have as a mark of distinction <holds the record for the 100-yard dash> <holds a PhD> 2. to keep under restraint <hold price increases to a minimum>: as a. to prevent free expression of <hold your temper> b. to prevent from some action <ordered the troops to hold fire> <the only restraining motive which may hold the hand of a tyrant — Thomas Jefferson> c. to keep back from use <ask them to hold a room for us> <I'll have a hot dog, and hold the mustard> d. to delay temporarily the handling of <please hold all my calls> 3. to make liable or accountable or bound to an obligation <I'll hold you to your promise> 4. a. to have or maintain in the grasp <hold my hand> <this is how you hold the racket>; also aim, point <held a gun on them> b. to support in a particular position or keep from falling or moving <hold me up so I can see> <hold the ladder steady> <a clamp holds the whole thing together> <hold your head up> c. to bear the pressure of ; support <can the roof hold all of that weight> 5. to prevent from leaving or getting away <hold the train>: as a. to avoid emitting or letting out <how long can you hold your breath> b. to restrain as or as if a captive <the suspect was held without bail> <held them at gunpoint>; also to have strong appeal to <the book held my interest throughout> 6. a. to enclose and keep in a container or within bounds ; contain <the jug holds one gallon> <this corral will not hold all of the horses> b. to be able to consume easily or without undue effect <can't hold any more pie>; especially to be able to drink (alcoholic beverages) without becoming noticeably drunk <can't hold your liquor> c. accommodate <the restaurant holds 400 diners> d. to have as a principal or essential feature or attribute <the book holds a number of surprises>; also to have in store <no one knows what the future holds> 7. a. to have in the mind or express as a judgment, opinion, or belief <I hold the view that this is wrong> <hold a grudge> <holding that it is nobody's business but his — Jack Olsen> — often used with against <in America they hold everything you say against you — Paul McCartney> b. to think of in a particular way ; regard <were held in high esteem> 8. a. to assemble for and carry on the activity of <held a convention> b. to cause to be carried on ; conduct <will hold a seminar> c. to produce or sponsor especially as a public exhibition <will hold an art show> 9. a. to maintain occupation, control, or defense of <the troops held the ridge>; also to resist the offensive efforts or advance of <held the opposing team to just two points> b. to maintain (a certain condition, situation, or course of action) without change <hold a course due east> 10. to cover (a part of the body) especially for protection <had to hold their ears because of the cold> intransitive verb 1. a. to maintain position ; refuse to give ground <the defensive line is holding> b. to continue in the same way or to the same degree ; last <hopes the weather will hold> — often used with up 2. to derive right or title — often used with of or from 3. to be or remain valid ; apply <the rule holds in most cases> — often used in the phrase hold true 4. to maintain a grasp on something ; remain fastened to something <the anchor held in the rough sea> 5. to go ahead as one has been going <held south for several miles> 6. to bear or carry oneself <asked him to hold still> 7. to forbear an intended or threatened action ; halt, pause — often used as a command 8. to stop counting during a countdown 9. slang to have illicit drug material in one's possession Synonyms: see contain II. noun Date: 14th century 1. stronghold 1 2. a. confinement, custody b. prison 3. a. (1) the act or the manner of holding or grasping ; grip <released his hold on the handle> (2) a manner of grasping an opponent in wrestling b. a nonphysical bond that attaches, restrains, or constrains or by which something is affected, controlled, or dominated <has lost its hold on the broad public — Oscar Cargill> c. full comprehension <get hold of exactly what is happening — J. P. Lyford> d. full or immediate control ; possession <get hold of yourself> <wants to get hold of a road map> e. touch 14 — used with of <tried to get hold of me> 4. something that may be grasped as a support 5. a. fermata b. the time between the onset and the release of a vocal articulation 6. a sudden motionless posture at the end of a dance 7. a. an order or indication that something is to be reserved or delayed b. a delay in a countdown (as in launching a spacecraft) III. noun Etymology: alteration of hole Date: 1591 1. the interior of a ship below decks; especially the cargo deck of a ship 2. the cargo compartment of a plane
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.