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To hold one's own

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on April 03, 2006

In Reply to: To hold one's own posted by Bob 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.

: : L

: It's an assertion of competence from a person who believes, perhaps falsely, that they need no help. Often said defensively, about oneself, or about another person whose ability is being questioned.

"We are holding our own" was the last radio transmission from the SS Edmund Fitzgerald just before it sank on November 10, 1975 in Lake Superior.

My opinion on "he's holding his own" is that it's often said with mild incredulity about a younger person, perhaps in a sporting event, who's facing seasoned competition.