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

That really was her last chance to gain a foothold. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Serena Williams gets milestone win, reaches 10th US Open final," 6 Sep. 2019 The idea has become a hot topic as more progressive economic policies have continued to gain a foothold in the mainstream discourse. Teen Vogue, "What is Universal Basic Income (UBI)?," 20 Aug. 2019 If the Houthis win the civil war and consolidate control over all or part of Yemen, Iran would gain a foothold on the Arabian Peninsula. Will Hurd, WSJ, "Congress Emboldens Iran in the Name of Peace in Yemen," 25 June 2019 But even in this unlikely place, modern payment methods are gaining a foothold. The Economist, "Indians are switching to digital payments in droves," 6 June 2019 The opposition's territorial foothold in neighboring Hama province dates back to the earliest days of the eight-year-long conflict. NBC News, "Militants pull out of key town in Idlib as Russian-backed Syrian troops press on," 20 Aug. 2019 Mr Putin seems determined to deny his critics even a foothold on Russia’s electoral ladder. The Economist, "Protests in Moscow show that Putin’s critics are getting stronger," 15 Aug. 2019 And in the years before the track opened, two notorious gangs, the Bloods and the Crips, both gained footholds in South Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times, "Man and myth, Part II: A return to Brotherhood Raceway, and Big Willie Robinson’s legacy," 8 Aug. 2019 His knowledge and sales savvy techniques enabled many small boutique growers of exceptional plants to gain a foothold and a wider audience. Frederick N. Rasmussen,, "John C. ‘Jack’ Lowry, a nurseryman who co-owned Lowry & Co. with his wife, dies," 5 Aug. 2019

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

13 Sep 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).


to make a temporary encampment

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