hold up: meaning and explanation

to hold somebody/something up = to delay somebody or something.

It is easy to use this phrasal verb as an alternative to the verb delay. e.g. I don’t want to hold you up = I don’t want to delay you.

We often use the phrasal verb in the passive (to be/get held up) when we want to focus on the person or thing that is delayed. e.g. I got held up at work.

We can also use this phrasal verb as a noun – a hold up, e.g. Sorry for the hold up, your drinks will be ready in the next couple of minutes.

Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: Ireland

Sorry I'm . I by the
Sorry I'm . I got up by the .

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • Tell me about a time you were late for something important because something delayed you. Use the phrasal verb to hold sb up.
  • Are hold ups common in your country? What causes these delays

Was this helpful?

Tagged in: