toe·​hold | \ ˈtō-ˌhōld How to pronounce toehold (audio) \

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 the governor’s assurances haven’t been enough to convince some members of the City Council’s Black Caucus that minorities will be able to gain a toehold in the marijuana business because of the way the state law is written. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Daywatch: FBI asking about Madigan, Illinois slashed EPA workforce more than any other state and downtown office boom continues," 5 Dec. 2019 That leaves Biden running the risk that Trump’s underlying — and fact-free — theories about Ukraine might find a toehold in voters’ minds. Philip Elliott, Time, "Joe Biden Is in the Headlines Over Trump’s Ukraine Call. He’s Trying to Leverage That," 27 Sep. 2019 In the most immediate sense, the fierce government reaction is aimed at preventing any opposition figure from gaining a toehold on the political ladder — including a seat on the 45-member city council. New York Times, "Putin’s Uncertain Future Shadows a Crackdown on Moscow Protests," 2 Aug. 2019 Huang struck out on his own in China, founding an ecommerce consumer electronics site called Ouku, then sold it and started a marketing firm for foreign brands angling for a toehold on Chinese ecommerce platforms. Wired, "China Has an Ecommerce Giant You’ve Never Heard Of," 9 Sep. 2019 To get a toehold, Shopify has enabled 17 languages on its platform besides English, including several Asian ones. The Economist, "Shopify and the return of the merchant class," 31 Aug. 2019 While Singer had toeholds on numerous campuses, USC stands out: Four members of the school’s athletic department and 19 parents of USC students were charged in the case. Los Angeles Times, "How Rick Singer tried to rope in USC legend Pat Haden amid admissions scandal," 30 Aug. 2019 In some schools in neighborhoods where the outbreak had gained a toehold, the vaccination rate had dropped below fifty per cent. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "The Message of Measles," 26 Aug. 2019 But June 6 was just one day; the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy merely a toehold. Mark Yost, WSJ, "The Building Blocks of the D-Day Victory," 5 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for toehold

Time Traveler

The first known use of toehold was in 1880

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Statistics for toehold

Last Updated

21 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Toehold.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for toehold


How to pronounce toehold (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on toehold

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toehold

Nglish: Translation of toehold for Spanish Speakers

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