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To hold one's own

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 05, 2006

In Reply to: To hold one's own posted by Brian from Shawnee 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.

People who are holding their own are not losing, although they may not be winning either. You can say it in a variety of situations, and of things as well as people. "How's that new monster truck doing in the competition?" "It's holding its own." Q: How's Sadie doing in that new challenging job? A: She's holding her own. SS