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Etymology 1[edit]

Two illustrations of the forehold (top, facing aft; bottom, facing starboard) of the USFC Grampus, a fisheries research schooner of the United States Fish Commission which was in service between 1886 and 1917.

From fore- (prefix meaning ‘positioned at or near the front’) +‎ hold (the cargo area of an aircraft or ship).[1] Hold is a variant of hole (influenced by hold (verb)), from Middle English hole, hol (perforation, hole; cave, cavern; hiding place, shelter; cell, compartment),[2] from Old English hol (hole (in the ground)), from Proto-West Germanic *hol (hollow), from Proto-Germanic *hulą (depression, hollow; hole), from Proto-Germanic *hulaz (hollow); further etymology uncertain, possibly either from Proto-Indo-European *ḱel- (to cover; to conceal, hide) or *ḱewh₁- (to be strong; to swell).



forehold (plural foreholds)

  1. (nautical) The forward or front part of the hold of a ship.
    • 1743, John Bulkeley, John Cummins, A Voyage to the South-Seas, in the Years 1740–1. Containing, a Faithful Narrative of the Loss of His Majesty’s Ship the Wager on a Desolate Island in the Latitude 47 South, Longitude 81:40 West: [], London: [] Jacob Robinson, [], →OCLC, page 24:
      It freezes very hard, and we find it extreamly cold. The next Day, the ſame Weather, we went aboard, and ſcuttled for Flower in the Forehold. The 25th, little Wind at N.E. and froſty Weather, went aboard again, and got out of the Forehold eight Barrels of Flower, one Cask of Peaſe, with ſome Brandy and Wine.
    • 1761, John Barrow, “Containing the Naval Transactions in the Year 1759”, in The Naval History of Great Britain; with the Lives of the Most Illustrious Admirals and Commanders, Deduced from the Earliest Establishment of the British Marine. [], volume IV, London: [] T. Lownds, []; T. Caslon, []; and W. Bristow, [], →OCLC, page 366:
      At nine in the evening, the Rippon, which ſtill remained aground, ran her larboard guns over the ſtarboard ſide, ſtarted thirty tun of water in the forehold, to lighten her forward, and employed all her boats in endeavouring to tow off: []
    • 1784, James King, chapter V, in A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken, by the Command of His Majesty, for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. [], volume III, London: [] W[illiam] and A. Strahan; for G[eorge] Nicol, []; and T[homas] Cadell, [], →OCLC, book VI (Transactions during the Second Expedition to the North, by the Way of Kamtschatka; []), page 287:
      Captain [John] Gore therefore ſent the carpenters of the Reſolution to aſſiſt our own in repairing her [the Discovery]; and accordingly, the forehold being cleared, to lighten her forward, they were ſet to work to rip the damaged ſheathing from the larboard bow.
    • 1784 April 30, “Advices from the East Indies”, in Sylvanus Urban [pseudonym], editor, The Gentleman’s Magazine: and Historical Chronicle, volume LIV, part II, number 5, London: [] John Nichols, for D[avid] Henry, []; and sold by E[lizabeth] Newbery, [], published November 1784, →OCLC, page 866, column 1:
      Extract of a Letter from an Officer belonging to the Major East-Indiaman, dated Calcutta, April 30 1784. [] The ſhip had been extremely infeſted with a kind of beetle called Cockroaches, which eat through every thing; and it was found neceſſary to fumigate the holds and decks, previous to her receiving the cargo on board, in order to deſtroy theſe vermin. In performing this buſineſs, by ſome accident, the fore hold of the ſhip caught fire.
    • 1847 November 6, “The Blenheim, Steam Guardship”, in The Patent Journal, and Inventors’ Magazine, volume III, number 76, London: [] Patent Journal Office, []; sold by Curry, jun., and Co., [et al.], →OCLC, page 566, column 2:
      The salt provision rooms are on either side of the forehold amidships.
    • 1899 September – 1900 July, Joseph Conrad, chapter IV, in Lord Jim: A Tale, Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons, published 1900, →OCLC, page 29:
      I knew there was no other bulkhead in the ship but the collision bulkhead separating the forepeak from the forehold.
    • 1904 June 9, “Latest in Engineering. [A New Marine Brake.]”, in Percival Marshall, editor, The Model Engineer and Electrician. A Journal of Practical Mechanics and Electricity, volume X, number 163, London: Percival Marshall & Co., [], →OCLC, page 534, column 2:
      If a total retarding force of 5,000 tons (which at least would be required by a 30,000 ton ship) is required, the aggregate area of the brakes must be 10,000 sq. ft., to accommodate which would very naturally reduce the capacity of the forehold.
    • 1911 November 24, Henry D. Baker, “New Zealand Trade Notes. [Cutting Steel with a Flame.]”, in Daily Consular and Trade Reports, volume 4, number 276, Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Manufactures, Department of Commerce and Labor, →OCLC, page 984:
      Quite a number of people recently gathered at the Wellington Wharf to watch the patent acetone process of cutting, with a flame forced out of a jet at terrific pressure, some steel beams and a bulkhead on a ship, the Arapawa, where it was desired to convert two foreholds into one.
    • 1965, Julian Symons, “The Steamers Arrive: The Delay”, in England’s Pride: The Story of the Gordon Relief Expedition, Looe, Cornwall: House of Stratus, published 2001, →ISBN, part 3 (The Fighting), pages 218–219:
      Everything about the steamers was filthy and neglected except the engines, which were in reasonably good order. The foreholds were crammed with ammunition, dhurra, wool and fuel, []
    • 2002, John Leather, “The Ketch”, in The Gaff Rig Handbook: History, Design, Techniques, Developments, 2nd edition, London: Adlard Coles Nautical, published 2012, →ISBN, page 168:
      The forehold was a store for sails, warps and other gear and its floor covered a dank space known as the dill room where imperishable stores were stowed.
    • 2004, Wilson [Lumpkin] Heflin, “Enchanted Isles”, in Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, Thomas Farel Heffernan, editors, Herman Melville’s Whaling Years, Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt University Press, →ISBN, page 93:
      The third mate tried to retrieve the weapon from the two islanders who seized it, but when he saw a native approaching with a spear, he ran forward, barely escaping a spade thrown from the opposite side of the deck. He saw an open hatch and leapt for it, landing on the lower deck of the forehold.

Etymology 2[edit]

From fore- (prefix meaning ‘occurring beforehand; earlier, prior to’) +‎ hold (to maintain; to consider, opine). Hold is derived from Middle English holden (to grasp; to possess; to hold (a belief or opinion),[3] from Old English healdan (to grasp, hold fast; to possess), from Proto-West Germanic *haldan (to hold; to keep), from Proto-Germanic *haldaną (to hold; to keep); further etymology uncertain, possibly from Proto-Indo-European *ḱel- (to cover; to conceal, hide).



forehold (third-person singular simple present foreholds, present participle foreholding, simple past foreheld, past participle foreheld or (obsolete) foreholden)

  1. (transitive, rare) To hold or believe (something) beforehand; to assume; to anticipate, to predict.
    Synonyms: (obsolete) foredeem, presage, prognosticate; see also Thesaurus:predict
    • 1902, J. F. Hultgen, “Infantile Hemiplegia and Inebriety”, in Bulletin of Iowa Institutions (under the Board of Control), volume IV, Dubuque, Iowa: Herald Printing Company, →OCLC, page 463:
      Instead of that he has encountered nothing but harsh criticism, unkindly dispositions, even on the part of his relatives, and he naturally drifted into places and surroundings where legitimate sympathy was not foreheld.
    • 2001, Aspasius, [anonymous], Michael of Ephesus, translated by David Konstan, On Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 8–9 (The Ancient Commentators on Aristotle), London: Duckworth, →ISBN:
      Or he may call "he who foreholds" the one who wants and receives, rather than the one who confers first: he calls []
    • 2006, Annette Kliemann, “Aid for Environmental Protection”, in Michael Sánchez Rydelski, editor, The EC State Aid Regime: Distortive Effects of State Aid on Competition and Trade, London: Cameron May, →ISBN, page 325:
      In a case regarding hazardous waste disposal, the [European] Commission ordered recovery for that part of the operating aid, which did not concern foreholding a capacity for waste treatment, but rather for the acquisition of commercial hazardous waste.
Usage notes[edit]

Not to be confused with forhold (to detain; to withhold).

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ forehold, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2018.
  2. ^ hō̆l(e, n.(2)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  3. ^ hōlden, v.(1)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.

Further reading[edit]