• (RP) enPR: hōld, IPA: /həʊld/, [həʊɫd]
  • (America) enPR: hōld, IPA: /hoʊld/, [hoəɫd]

hold (holds, present participle holding; past held, past participle held)

  1. (transitive) To grasp or grip.
    Hold the pencil like this.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175 ↗:
      But then I had the flintlock by me for protection. ¶ There were giants in the days when that gun was made; for surely no modern mortal could have held that mass of metal steady to his shoulder. The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window […].
  2. (transitive) To contain or store.
    This package holds six bottles.
  3. (heading) To maintain or keep to a position or state.
    1. (transitive) To have and keep possession of something.
      Hold my coat for me.  The general ordered the colonel to hold his position at all costs.
    2. (transitive) To reserve.
      Hold a table for us at 7:00.
    3. (transitive) To cause to wait or delay.
      Hold the elevator.
    4. (transitive) To detain.
      Hold the suspect in this cell.
    5. (intransitive) To be or remain valid; to apply (usually in the third person).
      to hold true;  The proposition holds.
      • 1691, John Locke, Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising the Value of Money
        The rule holds in land as well as all other commodities.
    6. To keep oneself in a particular state.
      to hold firm;  to hold opinions
    7. (transitive) To impose restraint upon; to limit in motion or action; to bind legally or morally; to confine; to restrain.
      • Death! what do'st? O, hold thy blow.
      • 1911, Thomas Babington Macaulay, “[https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Goldsmith,_Oliver Goldsmith, Oliver]”, in 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica:
        He hath not sufficient judgment and self-command to hold his tongue.
    8. (transitive) To bear, carry, or manage.
      He holds himself proudly erect.  Hold your head high.
    9. (intransitive, mostly, imperative) Not to move; to halt; to stop.
    10. (intransitive) Not to give way; not to part or become separated; to remain unbroken or unsubdued.
    11. To remain continent#Etymology 2|continent; to control an excretory bodily function.
      to hold one's bladder;  to hold one's breath
  4. (heading) To maintain or keep to particular opinions, promises, actions.
    1. (transitive) To maintain, to consider, to opine.
      • 1776, Thomas Jefferson et al., United States Declaration of Independence:
        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    2. (transitive) To bind (someone) to a consequence of his or her actions.
      He was held responsible for the actions of those under his command.  I'll hold him to that promise.
    3. To maintain in being or action; to carry on; to prosecute, as a course of conduct or an argument; to continue; to sustain.
      • Bible, Psalms lxxxiii.1:
        Hold not thy peace, and be not still.
    4. To accept, as an opinion; to be the adherent of, openly or privately; to persist in, as a purpose; to maintain; to sustain.
      • Bible, Second Epistle to the Thessalonians ii.15:
        Stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught.
    5. (archaic) To restrain oneself; to refrain; to hold back.
  5. (tennis, ambitransitive) To win one's own service game.
  6. To take place, to occur.
    • 1824, James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Oxford 2010, p. 9:
      He came into the hall where the wedding-festival had held […].
  7. To organise an event or meeting (usually in passive voice).
    Elections will be held on the first Sunday of next month.
  8. (archaic) To derive right or title.
    • My crown is absolute, and holds of none.
    • 1817, William Hazlitt, ''The Round Table (1817 book)
      His imagination holds immediately from nature.
  9. (heading) In a food or drink order at an informal restaurant, bar, or diner, requesting that a component normally included in that order be omitted.
    One ham-and-cheese sandwich, hold the mustard.
    A martini, and hold the olive.