foot·​hold | \ ˈfu̇t-ˌhōld How to pronounce foothold (audio) \

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

Its recent purchase of Belmond, which runs the Orient Express, gives it a foothold in the fast-growing luxury travel and hotel business. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Gucci Still Looks Nouveau Riche to Investors," 12 Feb. 2019 Bullock also sent a staffer to Iowa to work for Tim Gannon, who lost his race for state agriculture secretary last week, a move aimed at giving Bullock an early foothold in the crucial caucus state. Juana Summers, The Seattle Times, "Why wait? Democrats openly flirt with 2020 White House bids," 13 Nov. 2018 That gives the cable operator a strong foothold in Europe, where Sky sells phone, TV and internet services to 23 million customers. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, "Disney, Comcast to Account for Nearly 40% of Spending on U.S. Programming," 7 Dec. 2018 The election is pivotal for Republicans looking to end their mounting struggles and gain a stronger foothold in the nation’s largest state. Washington Post, "GOP tries to win key spot in California governor’s race," 5 June 2018 That role also means a stronger foothold in the Middle East for Russia. Nathan Hodge And Angela Dewan, CNN, "Arms, oil and fake news: 6 ways Russia is changing the world," 16 Mar. 2018 In Islamic State’s former eastern Syrian stronghold, the Islamic Republic of Iran is parlaying its military and economic might into a lasting foothold. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "Iran Moves to Cement Its Influence in Syria," 26 Mar. 2019 Blocks of wood in various shapes and sizes duplicating hand- and footholds found on real mountains are attached to the plywood surface. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "The Biggest Ice-Climbing Wall in American History," 23 Feb. 2019 Iran wants to keep its foothold in the Mediterranean nation neighboring Israel and Lebanon. Jon Gambrell And Nasser Karimi, Fox News, "Syria summit in Iran may decide Idlib military offensive," 7 Sep. 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

24 May 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 How to pronounce foothold (audio) \

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).


highly pertinent or appropriate

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