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

The second half was far more even and Liverpool did eventually get a foothold in the game to begin dominating. Matias Grez, CNN, "Liverpool stunned by Napoli late goals in the Champions League," 17 Sep. 2019 Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa both hit the post in quick succession for Lazio, as the hosts began to get a foothold in the derby., "Lazio 1-1 Roma: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Pulsating Rome Derby Ends All Square," 1 Sep. 2019 Islamist extremism is a threat, with the Islamic State gaining a foothold here and staging several major attacks since 2015. Washington Post, "Tunisia, the Arab Spring’s sole democracy, chooses a new president," 15 Sep. 2019 More recently, Denmark stopped China from gaining a foothold on its territory by agreeing to co-fund the construction of two new airports. Nick Rigillio, Fortune, "Why Would Trump Want to Buy Greenland?," 21 Aug. 2019 Foreign investment has gained a foothold, thanks in part to new regulations. Mac Margolis,, "New U.S. sanctions on Cuba have a silver lining," 20 Aug. 2019 Five years after Ukrainian protesters forced former president Viktor Yanukovych, Moscow’s then-man in Kiev, to flee to Russia, the Kremlin has had little success in regaining a foothold in Ukraine’s politics. Ian Bremmer, Time, "Sweeping Political Change in Ukraine Heralds Hope for the Future," 25 July 2019 Declining the state chamber of commerce's invitation contrasts with the last Democrat who sought the governor's mansion, as the party seeks to regain a foothold in the increasingly conservative Bluegrass State. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Andy Beshear snubs Kentucky Chamber of Commerce forum claiming the group backs Matt Bevin," 22 May 2019 West Germany recognised this and regained a foothold in the the game thanks to a penalty of their own in the 26th minute., "World Cup Countdown: 11 Weeks to Go - The Crowning of 'Der Kaiser', Franz Beckenbauer," 9 Apr. 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

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


a bell tower

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