hold·​ing | \ ˈhōl-diŋ How to pronounce holding (audio) \

Definition of holding

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : land held especially by a vassal or tenant
b : property (such as land or securities) owned usually used in plural
2 : a ruling of a court especially on an issue of law raised in a case — compare dictum
3 : something that holds



Definition of holding (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having the effect of holding back or delaying something the [war] represented a holding action against the spread of world Communism— Sidney Offit
2 : intended for usually temporary storage or retention a holding tank

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for holding

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of holding in a Sentence

Noun penalized 10 yards for holding the holding of “not guilty” took everyone by surprise Adjective The troops were engaged in a holding action until reinforcements could arrive.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For a 40-acre holding, the retention payment amounts to about $13,200, Carlson said. Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune, "Landowners file complaint against Enbridge over pipeline pledge," 3 May 2021 In lieu of a crystal ball, here are five questions investors can ask themselves to figure out what to do next after seeing enormous profits in a single holding. Ben Carlson, Fortune, "Bitcoin, Tesla, Ethereum: When should you take profits on your biggest investing winners?," 29 Apr. 2021 On Monday night, Matt Hand, of Burlington, Vermont — one of 58 passengers booked on the final flight to depart out of Gate 35X — stood in the first-floor holding area, watching with amusement as employees snapped selfies to commemorate the occasion. Washington Post, "Gate 35X ends its 24-year run with a water cannon salute (and a small delay)," 20 Apr. 2021 The company, a holding of the prominent Menashe family, had leased space to Blue Star for its central kitchen and a retail store in a building at Southwest Morrison Street and 12th Avenue. oregonlive, "After 13-months of crisis, Blue Star Donuts lives on," 18 Apr. 2021 States also have different holding periods and reporting periods for the unclaimed property to be reported. Charles Read, Forbes, "What Is Escheat, And How Does It Affect Every U.S. Business?," 16 Apr. 2021 Authorities say Schaffer was caught on camera holding bear spray and engaging in verbal altercations with officers in the Capitol. Michael Balsamo And Alanna Durkin Richer, chicagotribune.com, "Trump supporter accused of spraying police officers with bear spray is 1st suspect to plead guilty in Capitol riot," 16 Apr. 2021 On top of Tesla’s rally, a large holding in real-estate platform Zillow led to a 220 percent gain for the fund. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "How Stock Pickers Performed during the Pandemic," 6 Apr. 2021 The other holding ponds still have the original wastewater from the fertilizer plant, which is rich in heavy metals and is as acidic as battery acid, Mele said. Zac Anderson, USA TODAY, "Piney Point wastewater may fuel harmful algae bloom along Florida coast, experts say," 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Like the non-holding call against TCU on the Frogs’ first touchdown drive. Kirk Bohls, USA TODAY, "Analysis: No. 9 Longhorns must start holding themselves accountable, before it's too late," 4 Oct. 2020 It was established in 1997 to meet the needs of parents in the community, focusing on activities for parents of children birth to 3 years old and holding interactive sessions each month for families, according to the schools website. Charlie Lapastora, Fox News, "Barbara Bush's passion for education and family lives on," 20 Apr. 2018 Here’s how holding office affects Florida lawmakers’ incomes But surprisingly, Florida lawmakers did not boost their incomes while in office. Kevin Fahey, Washington Post, "Are most American politicians profiting from their offices? Not according to this data.," 10 Aug. 2017 Please explain how holding secret meetings on the health care bill relates to consent of the governed. Mary Schmich, chicagotribune.com, "A new Declaration of Independence — from the Republican health care plan," 27 June 2017

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about holding

Time Traveler for holding

Time Traveler

The first known use of holding was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for holding

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Holding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holding. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for holding



English Language Learners Definition of holding

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: property (such as land or stocks) that is owned by someone
sports : the illegal act of using your hands or arms to slow or stop the movement of an opponent in sports like ice hockey and American football



English Language Learners Definition of holding (Entry 2 of 2)

: causing or intended to cause a temporary stop or delay
used to describe a place where someone or something is kept for a time before being moved somewhere else



Legal Definition of holding

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a ruling of a court upon an issue of law raised in a case : the pronouncement of law supported by the reasoning in a court's opinion — compare decision, dictum, disposition, finding, judgment, opinion, ruling, verdict
2 : any property that is owned or possessed usually used in pl. an increase in the company's holdings



Legal Definition of holding (Entry 2 of 2)

: intended for temporary custody or detention a holding facility a holding cell

Comments on holding

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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