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Hold Up vs. Hold On: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 11, 2023
Hold Up refers to delay or rob; a pause caused by an obstacle. Hold On refers to wait or physically grip; to maintain a connection.

Key Differences

Hold up can mean to delay something or someone, often due to an unforeseen obstacle. For instance, traffic can hold up a person's commute. Hold on, in contrast, primarily means to wait or pause, usually without the implication of an obstacle, as in asking someone to hold on a moment while you grab something.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023
In a different context, hold up can also mean to rob, especially in a dramatic or forceful manner, like in a bank hold-up. Hold on, alternatively, can refer to gripping something tightly or maintaining a connection, such as holding on to a railing for support.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023
Hold up is often used to evaluate or assess something, as in holding up a plan for scrutiny. Conversely, hold on is used to indicate maintaining a position or opinion, like holding on to one's beliefs despite challenges.
Huma Saeed
Dec 11, 2023
In casual speech, hold up can be used to express disbelief or surprise, as in questioning the validity of something. Hold on, however, is frequently used to ask someone to pause or wait briefly, especially in conversation.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023
Hold up can also imply the act of supporting or bearing weight, like a beam holding up a structure. Hold on has the connotation of enduring or persisting, as in holding on through difficult times.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

To delay, rob, or support
To wait, grip tightly, or maintain connection
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

Usage in Speech

Expressing delay, robbery, or disbelief
Indicating waiting, gripping, or persistence
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

Contextual Application

Obstacles, robberies, assessments
Waiting, physical support, endurance
Huma Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Emotional Connotation

Frustration (delays), aggression (robbery)
Patience (waiting), determination (enduring)
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

Example in Conversation

"The project was held up by funding issues."
"Hold on, I'll check the schedule."
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023
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Hold Up and Hold On Definitions

Hold Up

To delay due to an obstacle.
Traffic held up my arrival.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 28, 2023

Hold On

To wait or pause.
Hold on, I'll be right there.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Hold Up

To rob or conduct a heist.
The bank was held up by masked robbers.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Hold On

To persist through difficulty.
Hold on through the tough times.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 28, 2023

Hold Up

To pause for assessment or disbelief.
Hold up, are you serious about moving abroad?
Harlon Moss
Nov 28, 2023

Hold On

To maintain a connection.
Hold on to your dreams despite challenges.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Hold Up

To support or bear weight.
The pillars hold up the roof.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 28, 2023

Hold On

To grip something firmly.
Hold on to the handrail while climbing.
Huma Saeed
Nov 28, 2023

Hold Up

To withstand scrutiny or examination.
His alibi doesn't hold up under questioning.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 28, 2023

Hold On

To keep a position or stance.
She held on to her opinion despite opposition.
Harlon Moss
Nov 28, 2023

Hold Up

(colloquial) A delay or wait.
What is the hold-up?
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 27, 2023

Hold Up

A robbery at gunpoint.
This is a hold-up! Give us all your money.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 27, 2023

Hold Up

(bridge) The holding back of a card that could win a trick in order to use it later.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 27, 2023

Hold Up

(in the plural) Women's stockings designed to be worn without suspenders.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 27, 2023

Hold Up

(military) The inventory of nuclear material within a separation plant.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 27, 2023

FAQs

Does "hold on" imply physical gripping?

It can mean physically gripping something for support.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

What does "hold up" mean in a robbery?

It refers to a robbery, typically involving threats.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

What's a common use of "hold up" in construction?

Referring to something supporting or bearing weight.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Is "hold on" used in motivational contexts?

Yes, to encourage persistence or maintaining a connection.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

How do delays and "hold up" relate?

"Hold up" often signifies something is causing a delay.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

Is "hold on" used in safety instructions?

Often, especially to instruct gripping for safety.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

How is "hold on" used in a conversation?

As a request for someone to wait or pause.
Huma Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Can "hold up" mean a delay?

Yes, it often refers to a delay caused by an obstacle.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

Can "hold on" indicate a temporary pause?

Yes, it's frequently used to ask for a brief wait.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

What does it mean to "hold up" a plan?

To examine or assess the plan for validity.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Is "hold on" related to maintaining beliefs?

It can mean maintaining a stance or belief.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Does "hold up" have a legal context?

It can refer to the validity of an argument in law.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

Can "hold up" be a casual expression of disbelief?

Yes, it's used informally to express surprise or disbelief.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

What's a metaphorical use of "hold up"?

Referring to something supporting an argument or idea.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

How is "hold on" used in emergency situations?

As a directive to maintain one's position or grip for safety.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Does "hold on" imply endurance?

It can imply enduring or persisting through challenges.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

What's an example of "hold up" in disbelief?

Saying "hold up" when hearing surprising news.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

Can "hold on" be encouragement?

Yes, often used to encourage staying strong.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

How is "hold on" used in telecommunication?

To ask a caller to wait momentarily.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Can "hold up" refer to reliability?

Yes, as in something holding up over time.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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