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?

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

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Eli
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Eli

I justo to be late in almost every meeting,date or even in my job. Because I got he’ll up with the chores or by kids

Javier Cruz
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Javier Cruz

It’s really shameful when I’ve been held up in the traffic and someone is waiting for me. I can undertand how feel other person.

Gulnar
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Gulnar

I got held up by work and I was late for my friend’s wedding party.

Irinka
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Irinka

Usually I never late. I consider myself punctual person. But once I was late to the work, because I got held up with havy rain

Victoria
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Victoria

Usually I’m held up by a traffic jam

Miriana
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Miriana

Well, i work on the other side of my city..it’s really far ..and I hate being late , so I try leaving home early..nevertheless the first day work…I arrived late because I got held by traffic ! It was rush hours traffic and I wqs desesperated.so, i got off the bus and took a taxy.

Marisela
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Marisela

I don’t like being held up by anything or anyone either, but sometimes it happens. However, I don’t remember when was the last time I was held up.

Jhona
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Jhona

I wasn’t on time for a job interview because i got hold up by a traffic jam.

Tanya
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Tanya

I work from home and have free schedule so fortunately I’m never late for it 🙂 Now I almost always come in (on) time and only some unexpacting occasions can hold me up )

Aline
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Aline

Once I got held up/I was held up by my alarm that didn’t work. But that was my fault :/ I forgot to turn it on

Gustavo
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Gustavo

I almost everyday sleep until late because the most days I arrive late at night and tired from the dancing training. So when I must to awake early is easy for me to got held up by the warm sheets of my bed if I don’t hear the alarm I put in my phone.

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