toe·hold | \ˈtō-ˌhōld \

Definition of toehold 

1a : a hold or place of support for the toes (as in climbing)

b(1) : a means of progressing (as in surmounting barriers)

(2) : a slight footing used his money to get a toehold, then a foothold, then a near stranglehold on the political economy— R. W. Armstrong

2 : an illegal wrestling hold in which the aggressor bends or twists the other wrestler's foot

Examples of toehold in a Sentence

American companies looking for toeholds in foreign markets.

Recent Examples on the Web

But a Johannesburg residency and an international art fair opening in Brooklyn next week aim to help some young women get a toehold on the ladder. Todd Pitock, New York Times, "Two Projects Helping Female Artists in Africa Find Their Voices," 26 Apr. 2018 MedMen is seeking a toehold in Florida because of the rapid growth of the state’s medical marijuana program, according to spokesman Daniel Yi. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "Want a job legally selling pot? You could be in luck: Florida's medical marijuana industry is beginning to take off," 25 June 2018 So that was kind of my toehold as a filmmaker: to understand that [Rogers’s story] feels so simple but actually has so much complexity. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Morgan Neville on making a movie about Fred Rogers’s “radical kindness”," 8 June 2018 Advanced yarns and fibers aren’t straight but rather split into multiple branches, providing channels for water to pass through, and their surfaces are crafted to be rough so odor-causing bacteria can’t get a toehold. Matt Gross, WSJ, "The Best Shirts and Shorts for Keeping Sweaty Runners Dry," 7 June 2018 Humanity now has only a toehold in space, and microgravity science is so new that the equipment to do it is just now being developed and tested. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "How Space Crystals Could Lead To New Cancer Drugs," 5 June 2018 That’s good news for the other communities where ZOE Holding Company has a toehold. Jessica Levy, azcentral, "Staffing gaps? ZOE Holding Company is ready to help," 25 May 2018 That gives the public media organizations involved with the deal a toehold in the broader world of podcast distribution and an opportunity to gather more data and insights on the market. Benjamin Mullin, WSJ, "Public Radio Organizations Buy Pocket Casts," 3 May 2018 Finally, Assistant is coming to devices with screens in the coming weeks, giving Google a toehold in a market currently cornered by the Amazon Echo Show. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Google Assistant wants to talk to you like a friend—and call in your dinner reservation," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'toehold.' 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 toehold

1880, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Dictionary Entries near toehold



toe hardie





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Time Traveler for toehold

The first known use of toehold was in 1880

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More Definitions for toehold



English Language Learners Definition of toehold

: a place where your toes may be placed when you are climbing a cliff, a mountain, etc.

: a position that makes it possible to begin an activity or effort

Comments on toehold

What made you want to look up toehold? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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