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1. verb To use knowledge of one's past behavior or misdeeds as a means of leverage or manipulation. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "over." I was just a kid when I made that mistake! Just how long do you plan to hold it over my head?
2. verb To temporarily defer or delay something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "over." Hold that project over until I'm able to get some questions answered by the boss.
3. verb To extend the run of something, such as a play or film. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "over." If every show so far has sold out, why not hold the play over a few more days?
4. verb To stay in office longer than one is expected or supposed to. In this usage, the phrase usually used passively. The mayor was held over after the election had to be postponed.
5. verb To keep someone or something in place after a change has been made. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "over." Just how long do you plan to hold me over in this position after the merger, sir?
6. noun Someone or something that remains after a change has been made. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word ("holdover"). She's a holdover from before the merger, to help us with the transition.
hold someone or something over
to retain someone or something (for a period of time). The storm held John over for another day. The manager held over the hit movie for another week.
hold something over someone('s head)
Fig. to have knowledge of something about a person and to use that knowledge to control the person. So I made a mistake when I was young. Are you going to hold that over my head all my life? Please don't hold that over me anymore.
1. Postpone or delay, as in Let's hold this matter over until the next meeting. [Mid-1800s]
2. Keep something in a position or state beyond the normal period, as in The film was to be held over for another week. [First half of 1900s]
3. Continue in office past the normal period, as in The committee chair held over until they could find a suitable replacement. [Mid-1600s]
4. hold something over someone. Have an advantage or use a threat to control someone. For example, They knew he'd been caught shoplifting and were sure to hold it over him. [Second half of 1800s]
1. To wield something above someone or something: Hold the flashlight over my head.
2. To postpone or delay something: We held the election over until after vacation. The trip was held over because of the rain.
3. To continue a term of office past the usual length of time. Used chiefly in the passive: The acting governor's term was held over until a successor was elected.
4. To prolong the engagement of something: This show is so popular that they held it over an extra day. The film was held over for weeks.
5. To control someone by threatening to make use of or reveal damaging information: He had no choice but to cooperate with the builders, since they held the legal contract over him. Now that they know my secret, they have something to hold over me.