toe·​hold ˈtō-ˌhōld How to pronounce toehold (audio)
: a hold or place of support for the toes (as in climbing)
: a means of progressing (as in surmounting barriers)
: a slight footing
used his money to get a toehold, then a foothold, then a near stranglehold on the political economyR. W. Armstrong
: 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 Tesla operates its Fremont, California, factory with nonunion labor, as the UAW has struggled to find a toehold at the plant. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, 15 Sep. 2023 In addition to its incredible Nasdaq debut, VinFast has worked hard to gain a toehold in the American market this year, breaking ground on a multibillion-dollar manufacturing plant outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, this summer. Rafi Schwartz, The Week, 19 Aug. 2023 At first, moving from the nearby city of Mission to a colonia seemed like an opportunity to gain a toehold on the real estate ladder. Edgar Sandoval,, 29 July 2023 The merger would have given Illumina a toehold in a still-emerging market for multi-cancer early detection tests, where Grail was positioned to become a force. Lila MacLellan, Fortune, 27 July 2023 Now, with hustle and a little help, the family has gained a toehold in New York City. Raúl Vilchis Christopher Lee, New York Times, 13 July 2023 Those efforts have so far made little dent in the group’s operations, including its push to deepen a toehold in several African and Middle Eastern nations., 4 June 2023 The doughnut business turned out to be ideal for immigrant families looking to establish an economic toehold in America: The shops require relatively little start-up capital. Alyssa Fowers, Washington Post, 2 June 2023 But as long as scammers and Twitter exist, keeping a toehold on the platform might be a good thing. Max Eddy, PCMAG, 1 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'toehold.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1880, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of toehold was in 1880

Dictionary Entries Near toehold

Cite this Entry

“Toehold.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


toe·​hold ˈtō-ˌhōld How to pronounce toehold (audio)
: a hold or support for the toes (as in climbing)

More from Merriam-Webster on toehold

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