up·​hold | \ (ˌ)əp-ˈhōld How to pronounce uphold (audio) \
upheld\ (ˌ)əp-​ˈheld How to pronounce uphold (audio) \; upholding

Definition of uphold

transitive verb

1a : to give support to
b : to support against an opponent
2a : to keep elevated
b : to lift up

Other Words from uphold

upholder noun

Choose the Right Synonym for uphold

support, uphold, advocate, back, champion mean to favor actively one that meets opposition. support is least explicit about the nature of the assistance given. supports waterfront development uphold implies extended support given to something attacked. upheld the legitimacy of the military action advocate stresses urging or pleading. advocated prison reform back suggests supporting by lending assistance to one failing or falling. refusing to back the call for sanctions champion suggests publicly defending one unjustly attacked or too weak to advocate his or her own cause. championed the rights of children

Examples of uphold in a Sentence

He took an oath to uphold the Constitution. They have a responsibility to uphold the law. The Court of Appeals upheld his conviction.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The brief’s final pages did propose two approaches that would allow the Supreme Court to uphold the Mississippi law but avoid overruling Roe. Adam Liptak, New York Times, 28 Nov. 2021 That’s part of the reason the justices should uphold Mississippi’s law, the state argues. Nicole Ault, WSJ, 28 Nov. 2021 The constable code of conduct requires constables to uphold the law, maintain integrity, avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety, perform their duties impartially and maintain high standards of professionalism and training. AZCentral.com, 8 Nov. 2021 The Biden administration, which is urging the justices to uphold New York's law, says California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have similar laws that could be affected by the court's decision. Arkansas Online, 4 Nov. 2021 The Biden administration, which is urging the justices to uphold New York’s law, says California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have similar laws that could be affected by a ruling from the court. Jessica Gresko, chicagotribune.com, 3 Nov. 2021 In a nod to those circumstances, the court’s liberal justices seemed ready to vote to uphold New York's law and affirm discretionary permitting programs. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 3 Nov. 2021 Gun control groups hope, however, that conservatives might still vote to uphold New York's law. Jessica Gresko, ajc, 31 Oct. 2021 These men, who had sworn to uphold the law, were signing up to join an armed, extremist, anti-government group. Will Carless, USA TODAY, 2 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'uphold.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of uphold

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Learn More About uphold

Time Traveler for uphold

Time Traveler

The first known use of uphold was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near uphold



uphold the decision

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for uphold

Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Uphold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uphold. Accessed 4 Dec. 2021.

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

More Definitions for uphold



English Language Learners Definition of uphold

: to support or defend (something, such as a law)
: to judge (a legal decision) to be correct : to decide not to change (a verdict)


up·​hold | \ ˌəp-ˈhōld How to pronounce uphold (audio) \
upheld\ -​ˈheld \; upholding

Kids Definition of uphold

1 : to give support to Judges swear to uphold the Constitution.
2 : to lift up


transitive verb
upheld; upholding

Legal Definition of uphold

: to judge valid : let stand uphold an award specifically : to hold constitutional uphold the practice of having religious invocations and benedictions at high school graduation ceremonies Sands v. Morongo Unified Sch. Dist., 809 P.2d 809 (1991)(dissent) uphold a statute

More from Merriam-Webster on uphold

Nglish: Translation of uphold for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of uphold for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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