a small ledge or niche just large enough to support the toes, as in climbing.
any slight or initial support, influence, advantage, progress, or the like: His knowledge of Latin gave him a toehold for learning French.
a batten nailed to a sloping roof as a support for workers.
Wrestling. a hold in which an opponent's foot is twisted.
Also, toe-hold.

1875–80; toe + hold1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
toehold (ˈtəʊˌhəʊld)
1.  a small foothold to facilitate climbing
2.  any means of gaining access, support, etc: the socialist party gained a toehold in the local elections
3.  a wrestling hold in which the opponent's toe is held and his leg twisted against the joints

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Example sentences
What really counts, say techno-optimists, is that technology should get a
The supercritical approach is getting a toehold in this industry.
Now novices and anyone unfamiliar with the valley can get a toehold in the ice
  with new guided expeditions.
The toehold of hip seemed doomed to remain only a toehold.
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