take hold

idiomatic phrase

Definition of take hold

1 : to grasp, grip, or seize something took hold and hung on tight often used with of take hold of the railing… she took hold of his arm with both her hands, and looked up eagerly—oh, with such terrible eagerness!—into his face.— Anthony Trollope often used figuratively As word of the subpoenas spread … confusion and hysteria took hold of the social set …— Bob ColacelloI did not want Merlin to retire from the job until I was ready to take hold of it effectively myself …— Mark Twain
2 : to become effective, established, or popular The change in the law has not yet taken hold. … a swath of land that has been spared from lava flows long enough that rich vegetation has had a chance to take hold.— G. Brad Lewis … here in central California the French aesthetic has recently taken hold.— Rebecca Coffey

First Known Use of take hold

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About take hold

Time Traveler for take hold

Time Traveler

The first known use of take hold was in 1530

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near take hold

take heed of

take hold


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for take hold

Cite this Entry

“Take hold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/take%20hold. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on take hold

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for take hold


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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