holdfast

noun
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.

See More

First Known Use of holdfast

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about holdfast

Statistics for holdfast

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for holdfast

The first known use of holdfast was in 1566

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for holdfast

holdfast

noun
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdfast

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about holdfast

Comments on holdfast

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!