hold up

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See also: holdup and hold-up



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

  1. (intransitive, informal) To wait or delay.
    Hold up a minute. I want to check something.
  2. (transitive) To impede; detain.
    I've got to be to work now. Why are you holding me up?
    What is holding up traffic?
    • 2012 May 13, Andrew Benson, “Williams's Pastor Maldonado takes landmark Spanish Grand Prix win”, in BBC Sport:
      It worked to perfection. Ferrari's decision not to stop on the next lap simply made life easier, especially when Alonso was held up by Marussia's Charles Pic during that period - for which the Frenchman earned a drive-through penalty.
  3. (transitive) To support or lift.
    Hold up the table while I slide this underneath.
    1. (transitive, figurative) To highlight, as if lifting up for display.
      His lectures held up Napoleon as an example of the phenomenon.
    • 1962 June, David Walters, “The new station and layout at Coventry”, in Modern Railways, page 405:
      In order to accommodate the new platform 4 and the reversibly signalled slow line, a deep cutting had to be cut back and held up in places with a concrete retaining wall.
    • 1977, Agatha Christie, chapter 4, in An Autobiography, part II, London: Collins, →ISBN:
      Mind you, clothes were clothes in those days. […]  Frills, ruffles, flounces, lace, complicated seams and gores: not only did they sweep the ground and have to be held up in one hand elegantly as you walked along, but they had little capes or coats or feather boas.
  4. (idiomatic) To withstand; to stand up to; to survive.
    hold up to scrutiny
    hold up to heavy use
    • 2023 August 23, Chris Howe, “Green screen: HS2's route through the shires”, in RAIL, number 990, page 34:
      The now infamous '108 woodlands' figure published by the Woodlands Trust, and later used by others to infer that HS2 would destroy 108 woodlands, does not hold up to scrutiny.
  5. (transitive, idiomatic) To fulfil or complete one's part of an agreement.
    I don't think he's holding up his end of the bargain.
  6. (transitive, idiomatic) To rob at gunpoint.
    The guy tried to hold up a bank.
  7. To keep up; not to fall behind; not to lose ground.
    how're you holdin up?
    • 1697, Jeremy Collier, Essays upon Several Moral Subjects:
      For what will the World say; Why could not he hold up? What made him come on so heavily, but that he wanted either Management or Metal
  8. (transitive) (Of an artistic work) To continue to be seen as good, to avoid seeming dated.
    Bride of Frankenstein is an old film, but it holds up.

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