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[bih-hohld] /bɪˈhoʊld/
verb (used with object), beheld, beholding.
to observe; look at; see.
look; see:
And, behold, three sentries of the King did appear.
Origin of behold
before 900; Middle English beholden, Old English behaldan to keep. See be-, hold1
Related forms
beholdable, adjective
beholder, noun
unbeholdable, adjective
1. regard, gaze upon, view; watch; discern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for beholding
Historical Examples
  • Remembering that seat of ivory in thy court, decked with jewels and beholding this seat of kusa grass, grief consumeth me, O king!

  • And no thought of impurity came to him on beholding that lily, snowy whiteness.

  • “You rob us of the rapture of beholding great beauties, Madam,” he said in a low, impassioned voice.

    A Lady of Quality Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • In the meantime they are happy in their hopes, and for this also they are beholding to me.

    The Praise of Folly Desiderius Erasmus
  • beholding the bright countenance of truth in the quiet and still air of delightful studies.

    Familiar Quotations John Bartlett
  • But on beholding the laundress' besotted face, she tremblingly drew back.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • Philammon turned away his eyes from beholding vanity; but only to meet fresh vanity wheresoever they fell.

    Hypatia Charles Kingsley
  • On beholding him Gervaise uttered such a deep wailing that he awoke.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • He was almost as startled on seeing the four chums as they were at beholding him.

  • At the noise of footsteps she raised her head, and shuddered on beholding Jean.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for beholding


verb (often used in the imperative to draw attention to something, archaic or literary) -holds, -holding, -held
to look (at); observe
Derived Forms
beholder, noun
Word Origin
Old English bihealdan; related to Old High German bihaltan, Dutch behouden; see be-, hold
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 beholding



Old English bihaldan (West Saxon behealdan) "give regard to, hold in view," also "to keep hold of, to belong to," from be- + haldan, healdan (see hold). Related: Beheld; beholding. A common West Germanic compound, cf. Old Saxon bihaldan "hold, keep," Old Frisian bihalda, Old High German bihaltan, German behalten, but "[t]he application to watching, looking, is confined to English" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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