behold

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English beholden, from Old English behealdan (to hold, have, occupy, possess, guard, preserve, contain, belong, keep, observe, consider, behold, look at, gaze on, see, signify, avail, effect, take care, beware, be cautious, restrain, act, behave), from Proto-Germanic *bihaldaną (to hold with, keep), equivalent to be- +‎ hold. Cognate with Dutch behouden (to keep, restrain, preserve), German behalten (to keep, restrain, remember), Danish and Norwegian beholde (to keep) and Swedish behålla (to keep).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

behold (third-person singular simple present beholds, present participle beholding, simple past beheld, past participle beheld or (rare) beholden)

  1. (transitive) To see or look at, esp. appreciatively; to descry, look upon.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 532:
      [] Alaeddin ate and drank and was cheered and after he had rested and had recovered spirits he cried, "Ah, O my mother, I have a sore grievance against thee for leaving me to that accursed wight who strave to compass my destruction and designed to take my life. Know that I beheld Death with mine own eyes at the hand of this damned wretch, whom thou didst certify to be my uncle; []
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      The humor of my proposition appealed more strongly to Miss Trevor than I had looked for, and from that time forward she became her old self again; [] . Now she had come to look upon the matter in its true proportions, and her anticipation of a possible chance of teaching him a lesson was a pleasure to behold.
  2. (intransitive) To look.
  3. (transitive) To contemplate.

Usage notes[edit]

Rarely used in informal speech. The past participle beholden now has a meaning detached from the other forms of the word.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Interjection[edit]

behold

  1. look, a call of attention to something
  2. lo!

Translations[edit]

References[edit]


Danish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /behɔl/, [b̥eˈhʌlˀ]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle Low German beholt, behalt.

Noun[edit]

behold (indeclinable)

  1. (archaic) haven, refuge
    i beholdsafe, intact, left (remaining)
    i god beholdsafe, safely, safe and sound, safe and well
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

See beholde (to keep)

Verb[edit]

behold

  1. imperative of beholde

Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Verb[edit]

behold

  1. imperative of beholde