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 charges and counter charges are part of a bitter legal battle that spanned more than six years, as the couple waged an extensive fight over the care of their three children and the division of the family’s significant financial holdings. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "FBI examining 2010 domestic fight involving acting defense secretary Shanahan; accounts differ on aggressor," 18 June 2019 The spike in cash holdings -- the biggest move into cash since a 2011 crisis over the U.S. debt ceiling -- coincided with other defensive plays. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Stocks are riding high, so why are investment pros turning bearish?," 18 June 2019 Besides his law firm, the other businesses own real estate holdings. 3. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland.com, "Ohio Senate enters budget week: Capitol Letter," 17 June 2019 Metals, plastic and other packaging are extracted near the start of the process, and the food waste itself is slowly converted to methane gas inside massive holding tanks. Don Stacom, courant.com, "Southington plant turns food waste to energy, owners say there’s lot of expansion room," 17 June 2019 The millionaire couple’s other investments, cash accounts, and real estate holdings generated an additional $9 million to $49 million last year, per Forbes. Alejandra Salazar, refinery29.com, "Ivanka Trump Closed Her Fashion Brands, But She Earned Millions From Her Father's D.C. Hotel," 15 June 2019 Daily Steals is also offering Verge readers a deal on PopSockets, a handy accessory to make holding onto your phone a little easier (these also function as a kickstand). Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "Google’s loud Home Max speaker is $40 off for Verge readers," 15 June 2019 Mickey Mouse’s animation studio long ago ballooned into a would-be-monopolistic holding company of many of pop culture’s beloved mythologies, and its trophy case is its theme parks. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Star Wars Park Is a Space-Junk Fantasy," 5 June 2019 Mini Trapezoid Belt Bag Matter Matters mattermattersgallery.com $448.00 SHOP IT Pack a belt bag to make holding onto your wallet, phone, and miscellaneous trinkets while biking through Amsterdam a straight-out-of-the-movies endeavor. Jaimie Potters, Marie Claire, "Where to Stay, Eat, and Explore in Amsterdam," 29 May 2019

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

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


to take the place or position of

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