English Lessons

Ten Phrasal Verbs With ‘Hold’

Do you know the word ‘hold’ has got close to fifty meanings? Well, we aren’t kidding a bit! And to make matters worse, this commonly used word can function both as a verb and a noun! While as a noun it has round about ten meanings, as a verb it has around forty. Let us look at the example sentences below to understand how this word tends to behave:

  1. He had a good hold/grip on the rope while trekking, so I’m only shocked to learn that he fell and hurt himself badly. (used as a noun)
  2. I had thought it was she who had a hold/an influence on him. (used as a noun)
  3. Could you please put a hold/temporary restriction on this controversial book? I will check with the boss whether we can allow the readers to access it.
  4. You shall have to hold/manage/conduct tomorrow’s meeting as I have got some personal commitments. (used as a verb)
  5. The police held/detained him at the airport for possession of marijuana. (used as a verb)
  6. Are you holding/carrying a passport? (used as a verb)
  7. You have a great hold/command on the English language. (used as a noun)
  8. This tank holds/contains five litres of water. (used as a verb)
  9. One of my associates holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy. (used as a verb)
  10. Can you hold/clasp this suitcase while I buy the platform ticket? (used as a verb)

Please note that as a verb, the word ‘hold’ can take five forms: hold, held, held, holding, holds. Nonetheless, since we believe you have now understood how the word ‘hold’ can behave, it’s time we listed out some interesting phrasal verbs with this word. So if you are ready, let’s begin!

Phrasal Verb #1

hold on


  1. To wait for a short time
  2. to have a tight grip on someone or something using your hands or arms
  3. to continue doing a challenging task

Example sentences:

  • Can you hold on/wait for another minute? I’ll quickly get ready.
  • I held on to/had a tight grip on my luggage after learning that an old lady’s handbag was stolen.
  • You will find it hard to believe, but Sam held on despite suffering a fatal injury while playing rugby this morning.

Phrasal Verb #2

hold out for

Meaning: to wait for something that you desire and refuse to accept anything else

Example sentences:

  • I’m holding out/waiting for a better offer.
  • The employees have refused to stop the sit-in protest. They are clearly holding out for favourable working conditions.
  • He is holding out for a job that will proffer him at least $5,000 a month.

Phrasal Verb #3

hold out against

Meaning: to not accept something that you don’t want

  • The doctors are holding out against the sudden change in work timings.
  • I feel your father will hold out against my expensive present.
  • Some parliamentarians are holding out against the recently tabled controversial GST bill.

Note: The word ‘holdout’ is a noun and refers to a person who refuses to accept an agreement. Example: Weirdly, Sarah is the sole holdout against this new time-table.

Phrasal Verb #4

hold off (somebody) or hold (somebody) off

Meaning: to prevent someone from attacking you or defeating you in a contest

Example sentences:

  • I can’t believe Dennis held off the other participants and ended up winning the arm-wrestling championship.
  • This group of trained personnel is unfortunately not enough to hold off the armed attackers.
  • Our aim is not to attack but be defensive and hold off the members of their team.

hold off (something/doing something) – never used in the passive voice

Meaning: to delay or postpone

Example sentences:

  • I think it will be wise to hold off investing in the shares for now.
  • Can you hold off the meeting until I return?
  • We won’t hold off working on this project any longer.

hold off

Meaning: If bad weather, especially rain or snow holds off, it means that it does not start despite seeming as though it might.

Example sentences:

  • We could celebrate his birthday at the park as planned as the rain held off.
  • He wished the snow would hold off, for his car was in an awful condition that day.
  • We had hoped the storm would hold off, but it didn’t, thereby forcing us to return.

Phrasal Verb #5

hold (somebody) to (something)


  1. To make somebody do what they have agreed to do
  2. to prevent your opponent from winning more points in a competition (mostly passive)

Example sentences:

  • We shall hold you to the exact terms of the business contract.
  • You had better not try to hold him to these pathetic work conditions.
  • Our team was held to 3-3 in the football match by theirs.

Phrasal Verb #6

hold (somebody/something) up as (something)

Meaning: to use someone or something as an example of something good

  • Dr APJ Abdul Kalam will always be held up as a great statesman to have trod the soil of our great motherland.
  • I had hoped you would be held up as a role model for the juniors, but you have proven to be an embarrassment.
  • Do you know the teachers hold you up as an ideal student? I have heard them talk highly of you in the staff room.

Phrasal Verb #7

not hold with (something)always negative and never in continuous tenses

Meaning: to not approve of something (especially an idea or activity)

  • My parents do not hold with unmarried couples living together.
  • I think they will not hold with this proposal turning into a reality.
  • He knows you will never hold with my speaking to your cousin about this matter.

Phrasal Verb #8

hold together

Meaning: to continue existing as a group despite challenging circumstances

  • The people of India held together during the reign of ruthless Mughal emperors.
  • If we don’t hold together, they will easily occupy our land.
  • Thank you very much for holding our team together throughout. (In this sentence, the word ‘holding’ functions as a gerund.)

Phrasal Verb #9

hold on to – never passive


  1. to hold something firmly using hands or arms
  2. to keep something that you have
  3. to continue to have a firm belief

Example sentences:

  • Hold on to the rail lest you should slip and fall.
  • I was not holding on to the steering wheel when I lost control and met with the accident.
  • You shall always hold on to the principles that have guided our ancestors.

Phrasal Verb #10

hold over (something) or hold (something) overmostly passive or causative


  1. to postpone
  2. to have more screenings of a movie or performances of a theatrical play than originally intended because of it being successful
  • The meetings to be held next week may be held over on account of the rising coronavirus cases.
  • We are glad to announce that your play is being held over.
  • I hope this movie gets held over. It has received rave reviews after all.

hold something over somebody

Meaning: to threaten someone using secret information you may have

  • Do you know that your being a drug addict will only be held over you if you divulged it to them?
  • They know you have spent close to a decade in prison, and I can only presuppose that they will hold it over you.
  • The fact that he once indulged in forgery is now being held over him.

We hope you found this lesson informative. Nonetheless, if you still have doubts, please feel free to get in touch with us by clicking here.


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