hold water



Possibly from the King James Version of Jeremiah 2:13: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”


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hold water (third-person singular simple present holds water, present participle holding water, simple past and past participle held water)

  1. (idiomatic) To withstand scrutiny or criticism; to be valid.
    • 2017 August 13, Brandon Nowalk, “Oldtown offers one last game-changing secret as Game Of Thrones goes behind enemy lines (newbies)”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      At the parlay, Tyrion also tries to claim Tywin’s murder was self-defense, which holds some water, and despite Jaime’s anger, I suspect he can see it from that side.
    • 1888, Horatio Alger, The Errand Boy, ch. 35:
      "Young man," he said, "upon this point I can only say that your story is grossly improbable. It won't hold water."


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