Etymology
Advertisement

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.

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.

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."

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of hold
1
hold (v.)
cause to continue in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g., `keep clean';
She always held herself as a lady
hold in place
Synonyms: keep / maintain
hold (v.)
have or hold in one's hands or grip;
A crazy idea took hold of him
Synonyms: take hold
hold (v.)
organize or be responsible for;
hold a reception
Synonyms: throw / have / make / give
hold (v.)
have or possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense;
She holds a Master's degree from Harvard
Synonyms: have / have got
hold (v.)
keep in mind or convey as a conviction or view;
I hold him personally responsible
hold these truths to be self-evident
Synonyms: deem / view as / take for
hold (v.)
maintain (a theory, thoughts, or feelings);
Synonyms: harbor / harbour / entertain / nurse
hold (v.)
to close within bounds, or otherwise limit or deprive of free movement;
The terrorists held the journalists for ransom
This holds the local until the express passengers change trains
The illegal immigrants were held at a detention center
About a dozen animals were held inside the stockade
Synonyms: restrain / confine / constrain
hold (v.)
secure and keep for possible future use or application;
Synonyms: retain / keep back / hold back
hold (v.)
have rightfully; of rights, titles, and offices;
He held the governorship for almost a decade
Synonyms: bear
hold (v.)
be the physical support of; carry the weight of;
What's holding that mirror?
The beam holds up the roof
Synonyms: support / sustain / hold up
hold (v.)
contain or hold; have within;
The canteen holds fresh water
Synonyms: bear / carry / contain
hold (v.)
have room for; hold without crowding;
The auditorium can't hold more than 500 people
Synonyms: accommodate / admit
hold (v.)
remain in a certain state, position, or condition;
The weather held
They held on the road and kept marching
hold (v.)
support or hold in a certain manner;
She holds her head high
Synonyms: carry / bear
hold (v.)
be valid, applicable, or true;
This theory still holds
Synonyms: prevail / obtain
hold (v.)
assert or affirm;
Rousseau's philosophy holds that people are inherently good
hold (v.)
have as a major characteristic;
The novel holds many surprises
The book holds in store much valuable advise
hold (v.)
be capable of holding or containing;
The flask holds one gallon
Synonyms: contain / take
hold (v.)
arrange for and reserve (something for someone else) in advance;
please hold a table at Maxim's
Synonyms: reserve / book
hold (v.)
protect against a challenge or attack;
Synonyms: defend / guard
hold (v.)
bind by an obligation; cause to be indebted;
I'll hold you by your promise
He's held by a contract
Synonyms: oblige / bind / obligate
hold (v.)
hold the attention of;
This story held our interest
She can hold an audience spellbound
The soprano held the audience
hold (v.)
remain committed to;
I hold to these ideas
hold (v.)
resist or confront with resistance;
The bridge held
Synonyms: defy / withstand / hold up
hold (v.)
be pertinent or relevant or applicable;
This theory holds for all irrational numbers
Synonyms: apply / go for
hold (v.)
stop dealing with;
hold all calls to the President's office while he is in a meeting
hold (v.)
lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits;
hold your tongue
hold your temper
Synonyms: control / hold in / contain / check / curb / moderate
hold (v.)
keep from departing;
hold (v.)
take and maintain control over, often by violent means;
The dissatisfied students held the President's office for almost a week
hold (v.)
cause to stop;
Synonyms: halt / arrest
hold (v.)
cover as for protection against noise or smell;
hold one's nose
She held her ears when the jackhammer started to operate
hold (v.)
drink alcohol without showing ill effects;
He can hold his liquor
Synonyms: carry
hold (v.)
aim, point, or direct;
hold (v.)
declare to be;
judge held that the defendant was innocent
Synonyms: declare / adjudge
hold (v.)
be in accord; be in agreement;
I hold with those who say life is sacred
Synonyms: agree / concur / concord
hold (v.)
keep from exhaling or expelling;
hold your breath
2
hold (n.)
the act of grasping;
she kept a firm hold on the railing
Synonyms: clasp / clench / clutch / clutches / grasp / grip
hold (n.)
understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something;
Synonyms: appreciation / grasp
hold (n.)
power by which something or someone is affected or dominated;
he has a hold over them
hold (n.)
time during which some action is awaited;
he ordered a hold in the action
Synonyms: delay / time lag / postponement / wait
hold (n.)
a state of being confined (usually for a short time);
the prisoner is on hold
hold (n.)
a stronghold;
hold (n.)
a cell in a jail or prison;
Synonyms: keep
hold (n.)
the appendage to an object that is designed to be held in order to use or move it;
Synonyms: handle / grip / handgrip
hold (n.)
the space in a ship or aircraft for storing cargo;
Synonyms: cargo area / cargo deck / cargo hold / storage area
From wordnet.princeton.edu