to hold at bay

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - hold at bay

"to hold at bay"

to prevent someone or something that is threatening or attacking from being able to advance


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - hold at bay

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: It seems that a hostile takeover is inevitable.

Colleague 2: But we have held them at bay until now.

Colleague 1: And we have pretty much used up all our resources. One more big push from them and we will have no choice but to give in and accept the takeover.

Colleague 2: Well, we put up a good fight holding them off as long as we did.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - hold at bay

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: Come and check this out on the news.

Friend 2: Are you serious? Only six riot police and a couple of barricades are holding that huge mob at bay?

Friend 1: It is hard to believe that the mob is not just overwhelming the police and advancing.

Friend 2: Those are sure some brave riot police.

Test Your Understanding  

to hold at bay - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   333   click for frequency by country

to hold at bay - Gerund Form:

Holding the bear at bay, my dog defended me so that I had enough time to load my gun.

to hold at bay - Examples:

1)  ... in Washington, on Wall Street, and in corporate offices are being held at bay by an untenable policy of low interest rates and a corrupt financial press, while ...

2)  Don't also forget that the mighty US war machine has been held at bay by a bunch of dedicated guys with simple assault rifles and RPG's.

3)  ... some geographic areas had always accepted these books as scripture, others held them at bay, even considering them to be forgeries. 

4)  ... scooped up some brains on the circular sign, and held the people at bay with it. They reared back ten or fifteen feet in a circle around him.

5)  I want the bad stuff to be held at bay. I want us to remember it gets better even when it's hard.

6)  Because I have lived a' healthy' lifestyle, these conditions were held at bay. My healthy lifestyle has quite simply prolonged my life so that I am still ...

7)  ... took up residence in my sinuses last week, and I've held it at bay so far, but I think it's about to win. Sigh.

8)  The short-term threat to the Eurozone has been held at bay by committing vast sums of money.

9)  ... way into the enemy trenches and destroyed four cannons that had held Allied troops at bay.

10)  ... of saying that the emotions you felt were always held slightly at bay, always controllable.

11)  ... ironic smiles and deft shrugs that suggest a world of emotion held sternly at bay

12)  Rich bankers and lavishly rewarded executives have in the past held critics at bay with accusations that they are anti-business -- or just plain envious.

13)  For a moment, he held it at bay and the tree began to swing and Robert began to believe the impossible. 

14)  However the legend that is Eddie Comerford, held them at bay until the 18th where he had a 10 ft putt to halve the match.

15)  However, the Keepers held them at bay, simply with verbal orders which the elephants fully comprehend.

16)  ... not have more right to it than we do; we held the enemy at bay and then defeated them.

17)  I ascended that mountain and held them at bay throwing stones at them.

18)  ... few weeks after my brother died -- so, I purposely held my grief at bay, because I didn't want to disappoint my fans!

19)  For fifty days the two armies held each other at bay without coming to a fight.

20)  A third dimension is a constant feeling of chaos held at bay (another constant in history), just beyond the firewall of everyday routine.