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 Ariel Investments added to its holdings of ViacomCBS Inc., television-station operator Tegna Inc., People magazine publisher Meredith Corp. and cable network MSG Networks Inc. Dawn Lim And Juliet Chung, WSJ, "These Investors Are Helping Drive Market’s Surprise Rally," 19 May 2020 Son added that there could be more pain ahead for SoftBank investments in its flagship Vision Fund, predicting that 15 out of its 88 current holdings could go bankrupt. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "They're famous for their investments. But Warren Buffett and Masa Son keep striking out," 19 May 2020 Italian banks are vulnerable because of their large holdings of bonds issued by the government of Italy, one of the most indebted countries in the world. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Europe’s “doom loop” of government debt is alive and well," 13 May 2020 Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified before Congress that as a private citizen, Trump routinely overstated or understated his holdings for financial gain. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court debates access to President Trump's financial records as he seeks reelection," 12 May 2020 The three-bedroom main house, plus two guest houses, increased his holdings there to more than three acres with at least 140 feet of beachfront. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property newsletter: Money keeps swirling in realty circles," 9 May 2020 Market exuberance has not kept 30 million Americans from filing for unemployment. Constrained by an inability to take risk and by limits on the size of its holdings, the Fed can only put a floor under asset prices for so long. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "Financial Markets Can’t Remain on Life Support Indefinitely," 1 May 2020 But after battling with Great Britain for control of North America during the French and Indian War, France gave up most of its holdings, ceding Louisiana to Spain and most of the rest to Great Britain in 1763. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "The Louisiana Purchase was a bargain. But it came at a great human cost.," 30 Apr. 2020 Your stock holdings could stand at 45% and your bonds could be 55% right now, hypothetically, because stocks have lost 20% to 50% in the last month, depending on the sector. cleveland, "Investors should rebalance to help 401(k)s, portfolios in light of coronavirus, stock market concerns," 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

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Holding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holding. Accessed 28 May. 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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Comments on holding

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