hold·​fast | \ ˈhōl(d)-ˌfast How to pronounce holdfast (audio) \

Definition of holdfast

1 : something to which something else may be firmly secured
2a : a part by which a plant clings to a flat surface
b : an organ by which a parasitic animal attaches itself to its host

Examples of holdfast in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Trilobites would scuttle across the ocean floor past primitive sea anemones gripping the bottom with their fleshy holdfasts. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Spectacular new fossil bonanza captures explosion of early life," 21 Mar. 2019 State rules required cutters to trim above the lowest branches and no closer than 40 centimeters from the holdfast—the sturdy foot with which rockweed grips the shore—to allow the plants to regrow after each haircut. Ben Goldfarb, Smithsonian, "How Seaweed Connects Us All," 31 May 2018 The vine also produces holdfasts, and is consequently an excellent tree climber, growing aggressively upward, eventually strangling its host. Dave Taft, New York Times, "English Ivy, Spread by Admiring Humans and Hungry Birds," 20 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holdfast.' 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 holdfast

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for holdfast

Time Traveler

The first known use of holdfast was in 1566

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Cite this Entry

“Holdfast.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holdfast. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for holdfast


hold·​fast | \ ˈhōl(d)-ˌfast How to pronounce holdfast (audio) \

Medical Definition of holdfast

: an organ by which a parasitic animal (as a tapeworm) attaches itself to its host

More from Merriam-Webster on holdfast

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about holdfast

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