From Middle English beholden, from Old English behealdan (“to hold, have, occupy, possess, guard, preserve, contain, belong, keep, observe, consider, behold, look at, gaze on, see, signify, avail, effect, take care, beware, be cautious, restrain, act, behave”), from Proto-West Germanic *bihaldaną (“to hold with, keep”), equivalent to be- + hold. Cognate with Saterland Frisian behoolde (“to keep”), Dutch behouden (“to keep, restrain, preserve”), German behalten (“to keep, restrain, remember”), Danish and Norwegian beholde (“to keep”) and Swedish behålla (“to keep”).
- (transitive) To see or look at, esp. appreciatively; to descry, look upon.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:look
- 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 532:
- […] Alaeddin ate and drank and was cheered and after he had rested and had recovered spirits he cried, "Ah, O my mother, I have a sore grievance against thee for leaving me to that accursed wight who strave to compass my destruction and designed to take my life. Know that I beheld Death with mine own eyes at the hand of this damned wretch, whom thou didst certify to be my uncle; […]
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
- The humor of my proposition appealed more strongly to Miss Trevor than I had looked for, and from that time forward she became her old self again; […] . Now she had come to look upon the matter in its true proportions, and her anticipation of a possible chance of teaching him a lesson was a pleasure to behold.
- (intransitive) To look.
- (transitive) To contemplate.
Rarely used in informal speech. The past participle beholden now has a meaning detached from the other forms of the word.
|present tense||past tense|
|2nd-person singular||behold, beholdest*||beheld, beheldst*|
|3rd-person singular||beholds, beholdeth*||beheld|
|participles||beholding||beheld, (rare) beholden|
- See Thesaurus:lo
- behold in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
- behold in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
behold c (uninflected)
See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.
- imperative of
- imperative of