Supreme Court 'Upholds' Travel Ban
Lookups for uphold spiked on June 26th, 2018, following the Supreme Court’s decision supporting President Trump’s travel ban. Nearly every headline covering the story used the word, such as this one from the New York Times:
Supreme Court Upholds Trump Travel Ban in a 5-4 Ruling
Uphold means “to support against an opponent” and has the specific legal sense of “to judge valid,” “to let stand,” or “to hold constitutional.” Its literal meaning, “to support physically” or “to hold up” is rarely used today. A noun use uphold meaning “support” or “stay,” dates back to Old English and is also rare in modern English. Uphold is a bit unusual in one way: most legal terminology derives from the Latin-based French words used in the legal system established in England after the Norman Conquest—think of arraign, indict, jury, judge, and even decision.