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To hold one's own

Posted by Lewis on April 03, 2006

In Reply to: 'I hold my own' posted by Dizzy Cowabunga on April 03, 2006

: What does the saying 'I hold my own' actually mean?? I've heard quite a few different answers, but no one can explain it right!

"to hold one's own" is an expression for being able to take part in one's own right - to not need to piggy-back on somebody else nor to only take part nominally and fail to compete.

I can't recall the origin with certainty, but it may be from sailing ships where a weak or inadequate person would not be allowed to hold a rope unassisted - perhaps it may even come from bell-ringing: when I was a kid, my dad would let me take part and like other inexperienced ringers I was not competent at holding my own rope and my father had to hold it with me - to avoid damaging the bell and avoid me being hoisted into the air. a ringer who had received approval at being safe would hold their own rope.

he or she's "holding their own" means that they do not look out of place through incompetence.