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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Politico noted that justices’ opinions and votes could change and that the holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 May 2022 As the Financial Times noted, that’s four times the holding of Jack Dorsey, a founder of the company and, until recently, its CEO. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 4 Apr. 2022 Twitter shares surged about 26% in premarket trading after the regulatory filing released Monday detailing Musk buying the holding. Time, 4 Apr. 2022 The Rosneft holding was, until recently, too valuable to walk away from (BP pegged it at $14 billion at the end of 2021), but also increasingly uncomfortable for a Western giant steering away from oil, and its investors. New York Times, 8 Mar. 2022 Gipson introduced bills that California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed into law, including the elimination of chokeholds by police and the holding of knees on suspects’ necks, which is how Floyd was killed in May 2020. NBC News, 4 Mar. 2022 Lund said the Rosneft holding was no longer in line with BP’s business and strategy. Ramishah Maruf, CNN, 27 Feb. 2022 Recently many people have been talking about the end of just-in-time, and a shift to more just-in-case, meaning the holding of more inventory. Willy Shih, Forbes, 30 Jan. 2022 The bloc's executive arm, the European Commission, issued a statement contradicting the holding of the Polish court. Arkansas Online, 8 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Like the non-holding call against TCU on the Frogs’ first touchdown drive. Kirk Bohls, USA TODAY, 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, 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, 10 Aug. 2017 Please explain how holding secret meetings on the health care bill relates to consent of the governed. Mary Schmich, chicagotribune.com, 27 June 2017 See More

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.

First Known Use of holding


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


1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near holding

hold in


holding attack

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for holding

Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Holding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holding. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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

More Definitions for holding



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

More from Merriam-Webster on holding

Nglish: Translation of holding for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of holding for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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