Etymology
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hold (n.2)

"space in a ship below the lower deck, in which cargo is stowed," 15c. corruption of Middle English holl "hull of a ship, hold of a ship" (c.1400), which is probably from earlier Middle English nouns meaning either "hole, hollow place, compartment" (see hole (n.)) and "husk, pod, shell," (see hull (n.1)). With form altered in the direction of hold (probably by popular apprehension that it is named because it "holds" the cargo) and sense influenced by Middle Dutch hol "hold of a ship."

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A-line (adj.)

descriptive of a dress or skirt flared in shape of a capital letter "A," 1955, in reference to the creations of French fashion designer Christian Dior (1905-1957).

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hold (v.)

Middle English holden, earlier halden, from Old English haldan (Anglian), healdan (West Saxon), "to contain; to grasp; to retain (liquid, etc.); to observe, fulfill (a custom, etc.); to have as one's own; to have in mind (of opinions, etc.); to possess, control, rule; to detain, lock up; to foster, cherish, keep watch over; to continue in existence or action; to keep back from action," class VII strong verb (past tense heold, past participle healden), from Proto-Germanic *haldanan (source also of Old Saxon haldan, Old Frisian halda, Old Norse halda, Dutch houden, German halten "to hold," Gothic haldan "to tend").

Based on the Gothic sense (also present as a secondary sense in Old English), the verb is presumed originally in Germanic to have meant "to keep, tend, watch over" (as grazing cattle), later "to have." Ancestral sense is preserved in behold. The original past participle holden was replaced by held beginning 16c., but survives in some legal jargon and in beholden.

The modern use in the sense "lock up, keep in custody" is from 1903. Hold back in the figurative senses is from 1530s (transitive); 1570s (intransitive). To hold off is early 15c. (transitive), c. 1600 (intransitive). Hold on is early 13c. as "to maintain one's course," 1830 as "to keep one's grip on something," 1846 as an order to wait or stop.

To hold (one's) tongue "be silent" is from c. 1300. To hold (one's) own is from early 14c. To hold (someone's) hand in the figurative sense of "give moral support" is from 1935. To hold (one's) horses "be patient" is from 1842, American English; the notion is of keeping a tight grip on the reins. To have and to hold have been paired alliteratively at least since c. 1200, originally of marriage but also of real estate. To hold water in the figurative sense "be sound or consistent throughout" is from 1620s.

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hold (n.1)

c. 1100, "act of holding;" c. 1200, "grasp, grip," from Old English geheald (Anglian gehald) "keeping, custody, guard; watch, protector, guardian," from hold (v.). Meaning "place of refuge" is from c. 1200; that of "fortified place" is from c. 1300; that of "place of imprisonment" is from late 14c. Wrestling sense is from 1713. Telephoning sense is from 1961 (on hold), from expression hold the line, warning that one is away from the receiver (1912). Meaning "a delay, a pause" is from 1961 in the U.S. space program. No holds barred "with all restrictions removed" is from 1892, originally in wrestling.

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line (n.)

a Middle English merger of Old English line "cable, rope; series, row, row of letters; rule, direction," and Old French ligne "guideline, cord, string; lineage, descent" (12c.), both from Latin linea "linen thread, string, plumb-line," also "a mark, bound, limit, goal; line of descent," short for linea restis "linen cord," and similar phrases, from fem. of lineus (adj.) "of linen," from linum "linen" (see linen).

The earliest sense in Middle English was "cord used by builders for taking measurements;" extended late 14c. to "a thread-like mark" (from sense "cord used by builders for making things level," mid-14c.), also "track, course, direction." Meaning "limit, boundary" (of a county, etc.) is from 1590s. The mathematical sense of "length without breadth" is from 1550s. From 1530s as "a crease of the face or palm of the hand." From 1580s as "the equator."

Sense of "things or people arranged in a straight line" is from 1550s. Now considered American English, where British English uses queue (n.), but the sense appears earliest in English writers. Sense of "chronologically continuous series of persons" (a line of kings, etc.) is from late 14c.

Meaning "one's occupation, branch of business" is from 1630s, according to OED probably from misunderstood KJV translation of II Corinthians x.16, "And not to boast in another mans line of things made ready to our hand," where line translates Greek kanon which probably meant "boundary, limit;" the phrase "in another man's line" being parenthetical.

Commercial meaning "class of goods in stock" is from 1930, so called from being goods received by the merchant on a line in the specific sense "order given to an agent" for particular goods (1834). Insurance underwriting sense is from 1899. Line of credit is from 1958.

Meaning "series of public conveyances" (coaches, later ships) is from 1786; meaning "continuous part of a railroad" is from 1825. Meaning "telegraph wire between stations" is from 1847 (later "telephone wire"). Meaning "cord bearing hooks used in fishing" is from c. 1300. Meaning "policy or set of policies of a political faction" is 1892, American English, from notion of a procession of followers; this is the sense in the political party line, and, deteriorated, it is the slang line that means "glib and plausible talk meant to deceive."

In British army, the Line (1802) is the regular, numbered troops, as distinguished from guards, auxiliaries, militia, etc. In the Navy (1704) it refers to the battle line (the sense in ship of the line, which is attested from 1706).

Dutch lijn, Old High German lina, German Leine, Old Norse lina "a cord, rope," are likewise from Latin. Spanish and Italian have the word in the learned form linea. In continental measurements, a subdivision of an inch (one-tenth or one-twelfth in England), attested in English from 1660s but never common. Also see lines.

To get a line on "acquire information about" is from 1903. To lay it on the line is from 1929 as "to pay money;" by 1954 as "speak plainly." End of the line "as far as one can go" is from 1948. One's line of work, meaning "pursuit, interest" is from 1957, earlier line of country (1861). Line-drawing is from 1891. A line-storm (1850) is a type supposed to happen in the 10 days or two weeks around the times the sun crosses the equator.

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line (v.1)

"to cover the inner side of" (clothes, garments, etc.), late 14c., from Old English lin "linen cloth" (see linen). Linen was frequently used in the Middle Ages as a second layer of material on the inner side of a garment. Hence, by extension, "to fill the insides of" (1510s). Related: Lined; lining.

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line (v.2)

late 14c., "to tie with a cord," from line (n.). Meaning "to mark or mark off with lines" is from mid-15c. Sense of "arrange a line" is from 1640s, originally military; that of "to join a line" is by 1773. To line up is by 1864 as "form a good line, be in alignment;" 1889 as "form a line," in U.S. football; transitive sense "make into a line" is by 1902. Also see line-up. For line bees see bee-line. Related: Lined; lining.

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strangle-hold (n.)

also stranglehold, 1893, in wrestling, from strangle (v.) + hold (n.). Figurative use by 1901.

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hold-out (n.)

also holdout, one who abstains or refrains when others do not, by 1911, from verbal expression hold out, which is attested from 1907 in the sense "keep back, detain, withhold" (see hold (v.) + out (adv.)). Earlier as the name of a card-sharper's device (1893). The verbal phrase is attested from 1520s as "stretch forth," 1580s as "resist pressure."

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off-line (adj.)

1926, of railroads, "not done on a railway;" 1950, in computing, "not controlled by or connected to a computer or network;" from off (prep.) + line (n.).

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