be·​hold bi-ˈhōld How to pronounce behold (audio)
beheld bi-ˈheld How to pronounce behold (audio)
; beholding

transitive verb

: to perceive through sight or apprehension : see
: to gaze upon : observe
It was a pleasure to behold the beauty of the sunset.
The enormous crowd was a sight to behold.

intransitive verb

used in the imperative especially to call attention
beholder noun

Examples of behold in a Sentence

Those who have beheld the beauty of the desert never forget it. to anyone who beholds the immense complexity of life on earth
Recent Examples on the Web The attention paid to their every dietary need is something to behold, reminiscent of the recent episode of The Bear set in an upscale Chicago restaurant that obtained FBI-level intel on each client. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 Alyssa Sutherland's possessed, tormenting mom is a phenomenally nasty piece of work and the jaw-droppingly gory, endlessly bloody finale is a joy to behold. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 2 July 2023 Then, at night, take a walk around the corner to the back of the shop and behold Back Door Donuts. Michelle Gross, Travel + Leisure, 10 June 2023 The street style scene was a sight to behold in itself, as many in attendance used the opportunity to display their cultural pride. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 23 Aug. 2023 New York Jets' pass rush No one is pushing Aaron Rodgers out of the spotlight for Gang Green, but the Jets' collection of burgeoning talent along the defensive line is something to behold. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY, 14 Aug. 2023 The Apple Cup and Oregon-Oregon State duel will be something to behold. Jon Wilner | , oregonlive, 6 Aug. 2023 This disclosure appears to raise the prospect of him appearing as a witness for the prosecution, and that would be something to behold even for the most jaded political observers. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2023 Female Bird Prize: Baltimore Oriole Though the orange and black pattern of a male Baltimore oriole is perhaps more well-known—and featured in the logo for Baltimore’s Major League Baseball team—the species’ females are a sight to behold, and this one earned the Female Bird Prize. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'behold.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, to keep, behold, from Old English behealdan, from be- + healdan to hold

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of behold was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near behold

Cite this Entry

“Behold.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


be·​hold bi-ˈhōld How to pronounce behold (audio)
beheld -ˌheld How to pronounce behold (audio) ; beholding
: to look upon : see
beholder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on behold

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!