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To hold one's own

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 16, 2006

In Reply to: To hold one's own posted by Lewis on April 06, 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

: I am firmly in the positive camp about holding one's own - it is an expression of, perhaps unexpected, competence.

: Prime example:

: "Woking got to the fourth round of the FA Cup by knocking out West Brom at the Hawthorns and now they are holding their own against Everton with the score currently 0-0 at Goodison" [1991]

: L

As per the Oxford English Dicionary: " 31. a. hold one's own. To maintain one's position against a competitor or an opposing force of any kind; to stand one's ground." ░ SS ▒