See also: Uphold



From Middle English upholden, equivalent to up- +‎ hold. Compare Dutch ophouden (to stop, cease, hold up), German aufhalten (to stop, halt, detain). Compare also Middle Low German upholt, Old Norse upphald (uphold, support).



uphold (third-person singular simple present upholds, present participle upholding, simple past upheld, past participle upheld or (archaic) upholden)

  1. To hold up; to lift on high; to elevate.
    • 1899, John Dryden, Geoffrey Chaucer, Percival Chubb, Dryden's Palamon and Arcite[1], page 5:
      The mournful train/ Echoed her grief, [...]/ With groans, and hands upheld, to move his mind, /Besought his pity to their helpless kind
  2. To keep erect; to support; to sustain; to keep from falling
    • 1769, The King James Bible, Proverbs 29:23:
      A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
    • 1623, William Shakespeare, The Life and Death of King John, Act V, Scene iv:
      That misbegotten devil, Falconbridge, /In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.
    • 1872, James De Mille, The Cryptogram[2], HTML edition, The Gutenberg Project, published 2009:
      Uttering such broken ejaculations Mrs. Hart burst into a passion of tears, and only Lord Chetwynde's strong arms prevented her from falling. / He upheld her.
  3. To support by approval or encouragement, to confirm (something which has been questioned)
    • 1748. David Hume. Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. § 18:
      but there was still a connexion upheld among the different ideas, which succeeded each other.

Derived termsEdit



  1. ^ Oxford-Paravia Concise - Dizionario Inglese-Italiano e Italiano-Inglese. Edited by Maria Cristina Bareggi. Torino: Paravia, 2003 (in collaboration with Oxford University Press). ISBN 8839551107. Online version here