hold on

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hold on (third-person singular simple present holds on, present participle holding on, simple past and past participle held on)

  1. To grasp or grip firmly.
    Hold on tightly to the railing.
  2. (idiomatic) To keep; to store something for someone.
    Hold on to my umbrella while I ride the roller coaster.
  3. (idiomatic) Wait a short while.
    Hold on while I get my coat.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 5, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      The departure was not unduly prolonged. In the road Mr. Love and the driver favoured the company with a brief chanty running. “Got it?—No, I ain't, 'old on,—Got it? Got it?—No, 'old on sir.”
  4. (idiomatic) To remain loyal.
    He didn't give up his fandom when others did; he held on.
  5. (idiomatic) To persist.
    • Jonathan Swift
      The trade held on for many years.
    • 2010 December 29, Sam Sheringham, “Liverpool 0-1 Wolverhampton”, in BBC:
      That scare aside, Wolves had little trouble in holding on for their first league away win of the season and their first over the Reds since little-known striker Steve Mardenborough gave them a victory at Anfield in January 1984.

Usage notes[edit]

This verbal phrase is technically intransitive, but it almost always takes an indirect object in a transitive sense by means of the word "to".


Related terms[edit]