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

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 Nine cab companies operate at DIA, which remains a big toehold for the industry as Uber and Lyft out-compete them even more heavily in the city. Jon Murray, The Denver Post, "Uber, Lyft and the A-Line train have changed the game at DIA — shelving plans for more airport parking," 21 July 2019 With one foot in the conflicts of the Middle East and a toehold in Europe, its interests have not always easily aligned with an alliance originally forged as a Western European defense against the Soviets. Carlotta Gall,, "Turkey gets first shipment of Russian missile system, defying US," 12 July 2019 Neither seems to care much whether his words have a toehold in reality. Washington Post, "ESPN’s new film says as much about America as it does about competitive eating," 1 July 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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Dictionary Entries near toehold



toe hardie





Statistics for toehold

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

More from Merriam-Webster on toehold

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toehold

Nglish: Translation of toehold for Spanish Speakers

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).


to make a temporary encampment

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