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From Middle English beholden, from Old English behealdan. Cognate with behold in the otherwise unrecorded sense “bound”.



beholden (not comparable)

  1. Obligated to provide, display, or do something for another; indebted, obliged.
    From an early age, I had decided I wanted to be beholden to no one.
    • 2017 January 14, “Thailand's new king rejects the army's proposed constitution”, in The Economist[1]:
      There is much to dislike about the proposed constitution, which will keep elected governments beholden to a senate nominated by the junta and to a suite of meddling committees.
  2. Bound by external expectations, such as fashion or morality.
    • 2012 June 26, Genevieve Koski, “Music: Reviews: Justin Bieber: Believe”, in The Onion AV Club[2]:
      But musical ancestry aside, the influence to which Bieber is most beholden is the current trends in pop music, which means Believe is loaded up with EDM accouterments [sic], seeking a comfortable middle ground where Bieber’s impressively refined pop-R&B croon can rub up on techno blasts and garish dubstep drops (and occasionally grind on some AutoTune, not necessarily because it needs it, but because a certain amount of robo-voice is expected these days).

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