verb up·hold \ (ˌ)əp-ˈhōld \
Updated on: 12 May 2018

Definition of uphold

upheld play \(ˌ)əp-ˈheld\; upholding
1 a : to give support to
b : to support against an opponent
2 a : to keep elevated
b : to lift up



Examples of uphold in a Sentence

  1. He took an oath to uphold the Constitution.

  2. They have a responsibility to uphold the law.

  3. The Court of Appeals upheld his conviction.

Recent Examples of uphold from the Web

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.

First Known Use of uphold

13th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1a

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

uphold Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of 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

UPHOLD Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of uphold for English Language Learners

  • : to support or defend (something, such as a law)

  • : to judge (a legal decision) to be correct : to decide not to change (a verdict)

UPHOLD Defined for Kids


verb up·hold \ ˌəp-ˈhōld \

Definition of uphold for Students

upheld \-ˈheld\; upholding
1 : to give support to
  • Judges swear to uphold the Constitution.
2 : to lift up

Law Dictionary


transitive verb up·hold

legal Definition of uphold

upheld; upholding
: 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

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


good-natured ridicule

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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