Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


But to the point: what was it about that she was holding forth so charmingly—a book or a lover?

A young French soldier was holding forth when Joan entered the hut.

Robert Fairchild had reached her and was holding forth his hand.

The children are holding forth to their cousins,—teaching them something, evidently.

It was a sunny day in a park and Billy Darfield was holding forth.

Mrs. Carew was holding forth to Fanny in the hall as Dick swung past them.

Christian men appear as lights by 'holding forth the word of life.'

"I have the king's signet," he said, holding forth the ring.

“Just read that,” said the staff official, holding forth a letter.

Ive heard him holding forth about women and money; his opinions are edifying.


Old English haldan (Anglian), healdan (West Saxon), "to contain, grasp; retain; foster, cherish," class VII strong verb (past tense heold, past participle healden), from Proto-Germanic *haldanan (cf. Old Saxon haldan, Old Frisian halda, Old Norse halda, Dutch houden, German halten "to hold," Gothic haldan "to tend"), originally "to keep, tend, watch over" (as cattle), later "to have." Ancestral sense is preserved in behold. The original past participle holden was replaced by held beginning 16c., but survives in some legal jargon and in beholden.

Hold back is 1530s, transitive; 1570s, intransitive; hold off is early 15c., transitive; c.1600, intransitive; hold out is 1520s as "to stretch forth," 1580s as "to resist pressure." Hold on is early 13c. as "to maintain one’s course," 1830 as "to keep one’s grip on something," 1846 as an order to wait or stop. To hold (one's) tongue "be silent" is from c.1300. To hold (one's) own is from early 14c. To hold (someone's) hand "give moral support" is from 1935. Phrase hold your horses "be patient" is from 1844. To have and to hold have been paired alliteratively since at least c.1200, originally of marriage but also of real estate.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.