The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Hold \Hold\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Held; p. pr. & vb. n.
Holding. Holden, p. p., is obs. in elegant writing,
though still used in legal language.] [OE. haldan, D. houden,
OHG. hoten, Icel. halda, Dan. holde, Sw. h[*a]lla, Goth.
haldan to feed, tend (the cattle); of unknown origin. Gf.
Avast, Halt, Hod.]
1. To cause to remain in a given situation, position, or
relation, within certain limits, or the like; to prevent
from falling or escaping; to sustain; to restrain; to keep
in the grasp; to retain.
The loops held one curtain to another. --Ex. xxxvi.
Thy right hand shall hold me. --Ps. cxxxix.
They all hold swords, being expert in war. --Cant.
In vain he seeks, that having can not hold.
France, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue, . .
A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,
Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.
2. To retain in one's keeping; to maintain possession of, or
authority over; not to give up or relinquish; to keep; to
We mean to hold what anciently we claim
Of deity or empire. --Milton.
3. To have; to possess; to be in possession of; to occupy; to
derive title to; as, to hold office.
This noble merchant held a noble house. --Chaucer.
Of him to hold his seigniory for a yearly tribute.
And now the strand, and now the plain, they held.
4. To impose restraint upon; to limit in motion or action; to
bind legally or morally; to confine; to restrain.
We can not hold mortality's strong hand. --Shak.
Death! what do'st? O, hold thy blow. --Grashaw.
He had not sufficient judgment and self-command to
hold his tongue. --Macaulay.
5. To maintain in being or action; to carry on; to prosecute,
as a course of conduct or an argument; to continue; to
Hold not thy peace, and be not still. --Ps. lxxxiii.
Seedtime and harvest, heat and hoary frost,
Shall hold their course. --Milton.
6. To prosecute, have, take, or join in, as something which
is the result of united action; as to, hold a meeting, a
festival, a session, etc.; hence, to direct and bring
about officially; to conduct or preside at; as, the
general held a council of war; a judge holds a court; a
clergyman holds a service.
I would hold more talk with thee. --Shak.
7. To receive and retain; to contain as a vessel; as, this
pail holds milk; hence, to be able to receive and retain;
to have capacity or containing power for.
Broken cisterns that can hold no water. --Jer. ii.
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold.
8. To accept, as an opinion; to be the adherent of, openly or
privately; to persist in, as a purpose; to maintain; to
Stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have
been taught. --2 Thes.
But still he held his purpose to depart. --Dryden.
9. To consider; to regard; to esteem; to account; to think;
I hold him but a fool. --Shak.
I shall never hold that man my friend. --Shak.
The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his
name in vain. --Ex. xx. 7.
10. To bear, carry, or manage; as he holds himself erect; he
holds his head high.
Let him hold his fingers thus. --Shak.
To hold a wager, to lay or hazard a wager. --Swift.
To hold forth,
(a) v. t.to offer; to exhibit; to propose; to put
forward. "The propositions which books hold forth and
pretend to teach." --Locke.
(b) v. i. To talk at length; to harangue.
To held in, to restrain; to curd.
To hold in hand, to toy with; to keep in expectation; to
have in one's power. [Obs.]
O, fie! to receive favors, return falsehoods,
And hold a lady in hand. --Beaw. & Fl.
To hold in play, to keep under control; to dally with.
To hold off, to keep at a distance.
To hold on, to hold in being, continuance or position; as,
to hold a rider on.
To hold one's day, to keep one's appointment. [Obs.]
To hold one's own. To keep good one's present condition
absolutely or relatively; not to fall off, or to lose
ground; as, a ship holds her own when she does not lose
ground in a race or chase; a man holds his own when he
does not lose strength or weight.
To hold one's peace, to keep silence.
To hold out.
(a) To extend; to offer. "Fortune holds out these to you
as rewards." --B. Jonson.
(b) To continue to do or to suffer; to endure. "He can
not long hold out these pangs." --Shak.
To hold up.
(a) To raise; to lift; as, hold up your head.
(b) To support; to sustain. "He holds himself up in
virtue."--Sir P. Sidney.
(c) To exhibit; to display; as, he was held up as an
(d) To rein in; to check; to halt; as, hold up your
(e) to rob, usually at gunpoint; -- often with the demand
to "hold up" the hands.
(f) To delay.
To hold water.
(a) Literally, to retain water without leaking; hence
(Fig.), to be whole, sound, consistent, without gaps
or holes; -- commonly used in a negative sense; as,
his statements will not hold water. [Colloq.]
(b) (Naut.) To hold the oars steady in the water, thus
checking the headway of a boat.