- To have and keep in one's grasp: held the reins tightly. To aim or direct; point: held a hose on the fire. To keep from falling or moving; support: a nail too small to hold the mirror; hold the horse steady; papers that were held together with staples. To sustain the pressure of: The old bridge can't hold much weight.
- To keep from departing or getting away: Hold the bus! Hold the dog until I find the leash. To keep in custody: held the suspect for questioning. To retain (one's attention or interest): Televised sports can't hold my interest. To avoid letting out or expelling: The swimmer held her breath while underwater.
- To have and maintain in one's possession: holds a great deal of property. To have as a responsible position or a privilege: held the governorship for six years. To have in recognition of achievement or superiority: holds the record for the one-mile race; holds the respect of her peers.
- To maintain control over: Thieves held the stolen painting for ransom. To maintain occupation of by force or coercion: Protesters held the embassy for a week. To withstand the efforts or advance of (an opposing team, for example). To maintain in a given condition, situation, or action: The storyteller held the crowd spellbound.
- To impose control or restraint on; curb: She held her temper. To stop the movement or progress of: Hold the presses! To reserve or keep back from use: Please hold two tickets for us. Hold the relish on that hamburger. To defer the immediate handling of: The receptionist held all calls during the meeting.
- To carry or support (the body or a bodily part) in a certain position: Can the baby hold herself up yet? Hold up your leg. To cover (the ears or the nose, for example) especially for protection: held my nose against the stench.
- To be valid, applicable, or true: The observation still holds in cases like this.
- To halt an intended action. Often used in the imperative.
- To stop the countdown during a missile or spacecraft launch.
- A control or adjustor on a television that keeps the screen image in proper position: adjusted the horizontal hold.
- A telephone service that allows one to temporarily interrupt a call without severing the connection.
- Music The sustaining of a note longer than its indicated time value. The symbol designating this pause; a fermata.
- A prison cell. The state of being in confinement; custody.