Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Idioms: hold (verb)

Type: Article

These idioms hold the key to you holding your head high in thisinstalment of Your English by Tim Bowen.

‘Despite losing the game, the team can hold their heads high after a brave and defiant performance.’ If you can hold your head high, you need not feel ashamed after a negative experience. 

You may be able to hold your own with your peers or rivals, especially with stronger or more experienced people, and be as good as they are in something such as a competition, an argument or a discussion, as in ‘Although she was the least experienced athlete in the event, she really held her own throughout the race’. 

The expression to hold the key can be used to mean to make it possible to explain or solve something, as in ‘Developing the tourist industry holds the key to the region’s recovery’ or ‘Perhaps this discarded credit card holds the key to unravelling the mystery’. 

We may not know what the future holds (what is likely to happen in the future) and this holds true (remains true) today just as it has always done. 

The expression hold tight is used to tell someone to hold something so that they do not drop it or so that they do not fall, as in ‘Hold tight when we go round the corner!’ 

In the USA, you may ask a waiter or barista to hold a particular type of food or drink, meaning that you do not want it with another food or drink, as in ‘Give me a hot dog, and hold the mustard’. 

If someone can hold their drink, they are able to drink a fair amount of alcohol without getting drunk or appearing to be drunk, as in ‘I’ll say this about Roger, he can really hold his drink’.

 

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