hold water

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Possibly from the King James Version of Jeremiah 2:13: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

Pronunciation[edit]

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Verb[edit]

hold water

  1. (idiomatic) To withstand scrutiny or criticism; to be valid.
    • 2017 August 13, Brandon Nowalk, “Oldtown offers one last game-changing secret as Game Of Thrones goes behind enemy lines (newbies)”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      At the parlay, Tyrion also tries to claim Tywin’s murder was self-defense, which holds some water, and despite Jaime’s anger, I suspect he can see it from that side.
    • 1888, Horatio Alger, The Errand Boy, ch. 35:
      "Young man," he said, "upon this point I can only say that your story is grossly improbable. It won't hold water."

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