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[bih-hohl-duh n] /bɪˈhoʊl dən/
obligated; indebted:
a man beholden to no one.
Origin of beholden
1300-50; Middle English, adj. use of beholden, old past participle of behold
Related forms
unbeholden, adjective
obliged, bound, grateful, liable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for beholden
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Many a man before had offered her gifts, and she had refused them every one; for she had no wish to be beholden to any man.

    Children of the Dawn Elsie Finnimore Buckley
  • Then, sinking before him in a deep courtesy, "I am beholden to you," she said.

    The Gentleman From Indiana Booth Tarkington
  • This venerable dame appeared to gaze at the spectator from whatsoever situation she was beholden.

  • You may be assured, that I will sooner be beholden to you, than to any body living.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • “I am beholden to you, Master Salkeld,” he said, when I had done.

    In the Days of Drake J. S. Fletcher
British Dictionary definitions for beholden


indebted; obliged; under a moral obligation
Word Origin
Old English behealden, past participle of behealdan to behold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beholden

"under obligation," mid-14c., originally past participle of behold (and preserving the original past participle of hold), but a sense directly related to this usage is not recorded among the many and varied meanings attested for behold.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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