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

doom, finding, judgment (or judgement), ruling, sentence

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Examples of holding in a Sentence


penalized 10 yards for holding the holding of “not guilty” took everyone by surprise


The troops were engaged in a holding action until reinforcements could arrive.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Monroe has designs on the control of Georgina jeans, a Jordache-like company with incredibly attractive New York real estate holdings that no one has been able to wrest from the family. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Black Monday on Showtime: Maybe Wall Street Isn't Funny Anymore," 21 Jan. 2019 Here's a close up of the photo on the key chain Zoe's holding: Surprisingly, Zoe accepts. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "John Stamos Reacts to 'This Is Us' Name Drop and His Response Is Wonderful," 16 Jan. 2019 Ross’s findings could very well be informed by his family’s holdings in IAC, which will ultimately undermine whatever Ross recommends. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Wilbur Ross’s Financial Shenanigans Should Be a Massive Scandal," 22 June 2018 The Fed has been reducing its holdings since 2017 by allowing some bonds to mature without replacing them, but officials now anticipate an end to the runoff in the second half of this year. Sam Goldfarb, WSJ, "Treasury Bond Prices Rise, With Trading in Narrow Range," 22 Feb. 2019 In the week ahead, the Fed’s plan is due to ramp up further by reducing its holdings by $40 billion a month, up from its previous pace of $30 billion per month, and double the pace from the first quarter. Tom Hudson, miamiherald, "Testing the tempers of investors," 30 June 2018 Trouble in Turkey could make investors reassess their holdings in other emerging markets. David Mchugh And Suzan Fraser, Fox News, "Why Turkey's currency is plunging and what it means," 13 Aug. 2018 On June 28, Sempra’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Martin said the company will sell all of its solar and wind holdings in the U.S., as well as gas storage facilities in the Deep South. Rob Nikolewski, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Sempra makes $1.6B stock offering to wrap up Oncor acquisition," 10 July 2018 After becoming governor in 2015, Hogan entered into a trust agreement in which three trustees manage his dozens of real estate holdings for him, but can provide the governor with details of their financial performance. Luke Broadwater, baltimoresun.com, "Larry Hogan releases tax returns, showing he's made $2.4M while governor," 6 July 2018

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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Statistics for holding

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for holding

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on holding

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holding

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holding

Nglish: Translation of holding for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of holding for Arabic Speakers

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