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

The total net worth of U.S. households dropped during the fourth quarter of 2018, as stock-market turbulence hit Americans’ wealth and offset a slight gain in the value of real-estate holdings. Harriet Torry, WSJ, "Stock-Market Volatility Takes a Bite Out of U.S. Households’ Net Worth," 7 Mar. 2019 The commission voted unanimously in November to remove the sculpture from the plaza, following a report from city staff that called for its de-accession,or removal and sale from the city’s holdings. Steve Annear, BostonGlobe.com, "A giant egg sculpture that was kicked out of Palo Alto will find a new home at Harvard," 25 June 2018 Forbes has put together an exhaustive investigation of Ross's holdings. Luke Darby, GQ, "Trump’s Commerce Secretary Sold His Stock in a Putin-Tied Company After Reporters Began Asking About It," 18 June 2018 Correction: June 11, 2018 An earlier version of this article misstated the value of the real estate holdings and other investments belonging to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in 2017. New York Times, "Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Had a Busy Year in Investing, Filing Shows," 11 June 2018 The value of Trump's holdings was estimated by looking at data from lenders, property records, annual reports and the financial disclosure the president released on May 16. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Trump's net worth declined for the second year in a row, Bloomberg reports," 31 May 2018 Investors at Chevron, for instance, are trying to get the company to address future changes to its portfolio, including expansion of renewable energy holdings. David S. Rauf, Scientific American, "Powerful Investors Push Big Companies to Plan for Climate Change," 3 May 2018 Published reports have placed the value of the Batmasians’ holdings above $100 million. David Lyons, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Batmasian real estate empire in unwanted glare of Boca mayor probe," 27 Apr. 2018 The official stock of Chinese holdings has come down from mid-2017, even as the yuan appreciated. Bloomberg.com, "China's Rapid Response to Tariffs Raises Treasuries Risk, for Some," 5 Apr. 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

12 May 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

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).


using a distributed computer network

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