foot·​hold | \ ˈfu̇t-ˌhōld \

Definition of foothold

1 : a hold for the feet : footing
2 : a position usable as a base for further advance

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Synonyms for foothold


base, bridgehead

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Examples of foothold in a Sentence

The army gained a foothold on the island. The company has secured a foothold in the market.

Recent Examples on the Web

Through its increasingly aggressive foreign policy, Russia seeks a foothold in a world that would be divided into spheres of influence controlled by Moscow, Washington and Beijing. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "The New Iron Curtain: Russian Missile Defense Challenges U.S. Air Power," 23 Jan. 2019 Overall, Spaceport Japan apparently wants to secure a foothold in the international space-business race by building Asia's first space travel hub for private spacecraft launched from airplanes, such as Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Russia’s nuclear rocket, airspace wars, BFR changes explained," 30 Nov. 2018 Syria has been Russia's running theme, as Moscow seeks to manage the end of the civil war and ensure a long-term foothold in the region. Fox News, "The Latest: South Sudan urges support for peace effort," 28 Sep. 2018 The novels play out in a breathtaking alternate world where humanity must establish a foothold off-world after an asteroid devastates Earth. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The Lady Astronaut novels are an enthralling alternate history of the space race," 22 Aug. 2018 Another foothold for Taiwanese cooking is izakaya-style, snacky food to serve with drinks in a setting splashed with neon and a cartoon mural. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "Stir, in Philadelphia Museum of Art, Prepares for October Opening," 10 July 2018 After making 27 starts for the Pacers in 2016–17, Robinson was unable to find a foothold in Indiana’s rotation last season after an ankle injury limited him to just 23 games. Jeremy Woo,, "Grades: Pistons, Raptors, Nets Land Robinson III, Van Vleet, Davis on Quality Deals," 1 July 2018 Today, however, women across Argentina are finding a foothold at every level—in viticulture schools, at wineries, in hospitality, and in government. Todd Plummer, Vogue, "Meet the Women Changing Argentina’s Wine Industry," 18 June 2018 Juul’s particular formula has proved incredibly appealing among users, making them, in turn, incredibly attractive to Altria, which struggled gain a foothold in the electronic-cigarette market. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Big tobacco just spent $12.8 billion to get a taste of Juul," 20 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foothold.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of foothold

circa 1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for foothold

Last Updated

1 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for foothold

The first known use of foothold was circa 1577

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More Definitions for foothold



English Language Learners Definition of foothold

: a place where your foot may be placed when you are climbing a cliff, a mountain, etc.
: a position that makes it possible to begin an activity or effort


foot·​hold | \ ˈfu̇t-ˌhōld \

Kids Definition of foothold

: a place where the foot may be put (as for climbing)

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More from Merriam-Webster on foothold

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with foothold

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foothold

Spanish Central: Translation of foothold

Nglish: Translation of foothold for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foothold for Arabic Speakers

Comments on foothold

What made you want to look up foothold? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


irregularly rounded

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