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

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Synonyms for holding

Synonyms: Noun

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Meanwhile, Seth MacFarlane moved from Fox to Comcast in a five-year, $200 million deal and Norman Reedus signed a $90 million holding deal with AMC for his role in the Walking Dead Universe. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "Power Lawyers 2020: Hollywood's Top 100 Attorneys," 27 Mar. 2020 The Fed swelled its asset holdings significantly during and after the 2008 financial crisis. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, "How the Fed’s Magic Money Machine Will Turn $454 Billion Into $4 Trillion," 26 Mar. 2020 Uy’s main challenge now is making these businesses work and turning Udenna into a holding that would last beyond Duterte. Ian C Sayson, Bloomberg.com, "Duterte’s Lesson Taught Philippine Tycoon to Toughen Up," 24 Mar. 2020 Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, also came under scrutiny for selling major holdings right before the stock market drop. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Matt Gaetz: 'Not fair' for Richard Burr to remain intelligence chairman after 'screwing all Americans'," 24 Mar. 2020 But now the reverse might be happening a bit, with some investors pulling money from bonds and cash holdings and reinvesting the proceeds into the stock market. Russ Wiles, USA TODAY, "Stock-market turning point might depend on easing of fear, not arrival or end of recession," 23 Mar. 2020 These experiments modeled a variety of economic circumstances, different investment strategies, and various levels of disbursement relative to a foundation’s total holdings. Jon Bergdoll, The Conversation, "What happens to charitable giving when the economy falters?," 23 Mar. 2020 But now the reverse might be happening a bit, with some investors pulling money from bonds and cash holdings and reinvesting the proceeds into the stock market. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "When will the stock market start recovering? Turning point might may not depend on recession," 22 Mar. 2020 The two sold off seven figures worth of stock holdings after a Senate Health Committee hosted a closed-door briefing with Trump administration officials on Jan. 24 for all senators on the coronavirus. Daniel Bice, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bice: U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson defends Pacur sale amid accusations of insider trading by other GOP senators," 20 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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.

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First Known Use of holding


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


1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for holding

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for holding

Last Updated

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Holding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holding. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for holding


How to pronounce holding (audio)

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

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