the act of a person or thing that holds.
a section of land leased or otherwise tenanted, especially for agricultural purposes.
a company owned by a holding company.
Often, holdings. legally owned property, especially stocks, bonds, or real estate.
holdings, Library Science. the entire collection of books, periodicals, and other materials in a library.
Sports. the illegal obstruction of an opponent, as in football, basketball, or ice hockey, by use of the hands, arms, or stick.

1175–1225; Middle English holding. See hold1, -ing1

preholding, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
holding (ˈhəʊldɪŋ)
1.  land held under a lease and used for agriculture or similar purposes
2.  (often plural) property to which the holder has legal title, such as land, stocks, shares, and other investments
3.  sport the obstruction of an opponent with the hands or arms, esp in boxing
4.  informal (Austral) in funds; having money

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. haldan (Anglian), healdan (W.Saxon), class VII strong verb (past tense heold, pp. healden), from P.Gmc. *khaldanan (cf. O.N. halda, Du. houden, Ger. halten "to hold," Goth. haldan "to tend"), originally "to keep, tend, watch over" (as cattle), later "to have." Ancestral sense is preserved in behold.
Holdup, in sense of "a stoppage," is 1837 in Amer.Eng.; sense of "stopping by force and robbing" is 1851, also in Amer.Eng., probably strengthened by notion of "holding up hands." To hold (one's) own is from early 14c. No holds barred "with all restrictions removed" is first recorded 1942 in theater jargon but is ultimately from wrestling. Phrase hold your horses "be patient" is from 1844. Hold out (v.) is from 1907. The original pp. holden was replaced by held beginning 16c., but survives in some legal jargon and in beholden.

"space in a ship below the lower deck, in which cargo is stowed," 15c. corruption (infl. by hold (v.)) of O.E. hol "hole," infl. by M.Du. hol "hold of a ship," and M.E. hul, which originally meant both "the hold" and "the hull" of a ship (see hull).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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