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Hold water   /hoʊld wˈɔtər/   Listen
Hold water

verb
1.
Resist or withstand wear, criticism, etc..  Synonyms: hold up, stand up.  "This theory won't hold water"






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Hold water" Quotes from Famous Books



... and built barges after the manner which they had built, after the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water; and they were built like unto a manner that they were exceeding tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish, and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof when it was shut was tight like unto ...
— The Lions of the Lord - A Tale of the Old West • Harry Leon Wilson

... old games. His plan for settling the Irish question is no plan at all, as I have frequently shown. Whenever it has been submitted to the fire of criticism it has been found that it will not wash. It is quite useless to try to mix oil and vinegar in a jug that will not hold water. ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, April 15, 1914 • Various

... family; when people learn to walk until they can afford to ride; when the poor man ceases to spend more for tobacco than for bread; when those who complain of panics learn that "we cannot eat our cake and keep it," that a sieve will not hold water, that we must rely on our own exertions and earn before we expend, then will panics cease and prosperity return. While we should by no means unreasonably restrict healthy recreation, we should remember that "time is money," that idleness leads to immoral habits, and that the peace, prosperity and ...
— A Unique Story of a Marvellous Career. Life of Hon. Phineas T. • Joel Benton

... material was found for judicial process. One can understand how Jesus was detested by rulers, and how they succeeded in stirring up popular feeling against Him, but not how an indictment that would hold water was framed against Him. Nor would even Pilate's complaisance have gone so far as to have condemned a prisoner against whom all that could be said was that he was disliked because he taught wisely and well and was too good for his critics. The question ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture: St. John Chaps. XV to XXI • Alexander Maclaren

... captain, swore to hail every ship he came across: and he did—though from the first he met with no encouragement. "Ship, ahoy!" he shouted, coming down with a rush upon the stern-windows of the first and calling to all to hold water. "Ahoy! Ship!" ...
— News from the Duchy • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... wet from bein' rained on, I guess," said Flossie, for indeed the doll's dress was still damp, and very likely it had been out in the rain. That stump would hold water for some time, like a ...
— The Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island • Laura Lee Hope

... TO WATER 39 Importance of water to plants 39 Sources of soil water 40 Attitude of soils toward water: Percolation Absorption from below Power to hold water 40 The effect of working ...
— The First Book of Farming • Charles L. Goodrich

... the arguments brought forward by the sovereign and his apologists in justification of this step appears to me to hold water. The necessity pleaded for an interview with the Duke of Poland, the Czar's desire to hasten on Repnin's march, are mere pitiful excuses. Langen and Hallart, the generals sent by Augustus to observe the military operations in Livonia, gravely reported that the Czar had been obliged ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 12 • Editor-In-Chief Rossiter Johnson

... was enough to make him profess the opposite. It was enough to make him examine the opinion for himself, when it affected any of the many subjects which interested him, and if, after giving it his best attention, he found it did not hold water, then no weight of authority could make him say that it did. This matter of the geography of the Iliad is only one among many commonly received opinions which he examined for himself and found no reason to dispute; on these he considered ...
— Samuel Butler: A Sketch • Henry Festing Jones

... of it, That any Prussian subject who thinks himself aggrieved, may come and tell his story to the King's own self: ["January, 1744" (Rodenbeck, i. 98).]—better have his story in firm succinct state, I should imagine, and such that it will hold water, in telling it to the King! But the King is ready to hear him; heartily eager to get justice done him. A suitable boon, such Permission, till Law-Reform take effect. And after Law-Reform had finished, it was a thing found suitable; and continued ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XIV. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... it shrunk away to fill it again, and keep it full. The bag he had placed at first across two pieces of wood, about a foot from the ground; and under it he ordered some of our skins to be spread that would hold water. In about an hour, and not sooner, the water began to come dropping through the bottom of the bag, and, to our great surprise, was perfectly fresh and sweet, and this continued for several hours; but in the end the water ...
— The Life, Adventures & Piracies of the Famous Captain Singleton • Daniel Defoe

... Jeannie Seaverns, having entered the harbor of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, for shelter, was denied permission to go and see his relatives near by or to receive them aboard his vessel. The water-tank of the schooner Mollie Adams having burst, her captain sought to buy two or three barrels to hold water for his crew on their homeward voyage of five hundred miles. ...
— History of the United States, Volume 4 • E. Benjamin Andrews

... presume, of a taste still very defective, that I take singular pleasure in the elaborate imitations of Van Mieris, Gerard Douw, and other old Dutch wizards, who painted such brass pots that you can see your face in them, and such earthen pots that they will surely hold water; and who spent weeks and months in turning a foot or two of canvas into a perfect microscopic illusion of some homely scene. For my part, I wish Raphael had painted the "Transfiguration" in this style, at the same time preserving his breadth and grandeur of ...
— Passages From the French and Italian Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... model of plaister upon which the bronze coating is to be wrought, for the whole is to be in bronze with gilt trappings. He is to stand upon an elevated pedestal, which is already completed. The height will be about 60 feet, nearly as high as Alderley Steeple. The castle will hold water; the inside is to be a room, and the staircase is to be in one of the legs. The porter who showed it was exceedingly proud of the performance, and when I expressed my astonishment at Buonaparte's numerous plans and the ...
— Before and after Waterloo - Letters from Edward Stanley, sometime Bishop of Norwich (1802;1814;1814) • Edward Stanley

... very dark and lowering, and I expected a heavy fall of rain; to catch which we spread our oilskins and tarpaulin, and placed out the buckets and pannekins, or whatever else would hold water: a few drops, however, only fell, and the storm passed away, leaving us as much under a feeling of disappointment, as we had been previously of hope: one little shower would have relieved us at ...
— Journals Of Expeditions Of Discovery Into Central • Edward John Eyre

... land and stagnant pools are their breeding places. If the latter cannot be drained, oil spraying is the alternative and that is work for a professional. Again an old rubbish heap, replete with tin cans and other discards that will hold water, offers more encouragement to mosquitoes than is generally realized. Cart all such rubbish away or bury it; then you can drink your after-dinner coffee in peace on terrace or lawn, or enjoy the coolness of evening dew after a blistering hot ...
— If You're Going to Live in the Country • Thomas H. Ormsbee and Richmond Huntley

... temptation to derive this word from buf l'eau, but I fear that the theory will not hold water. The "buffaloes" of Alexandria laughted it ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 9 • Richard F. Burton

... habit of mind always to regard effects in relation to causes, so that merely to cure evil results without striking at the evil cause seems to me, to use a Johnsonian simile, "like stopping up a hole or two of a sieve with the hope of making it hold water." ...
— The Power of Womanhood, or Mothers and Sons - A Book For Parents, And Those In Loco Parentis • Ellice Hopkins

... are old, you are not worth five shillings a month and your scoff (food). You are a shrunken old brandy cask that will not even hold water." ...
— Allan and the Holy Flower • H. Rider Haggard

... pains, and then sent him away, and proceeded, and had W. Hewer come to me, and he and I till past twelve at night in the Office, and he, which was a good service, did so inform me in the consequences of my writing this report, and that what I said would not hold water, in denying this Board to have ever ordered the discharging out of the service whole ships by ticket, that I did alter my whole counsel, and fall to arme myself with good reasons to justify the Office in so doing, which hath been but rare, and having done this, I went, with great quiet ...
— Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete • Samuel Pepys

... front thatched with leaves and grass, forms the Baiga's residence, and if it is burnt down, or abandoned on a visitation of epidemic disease, he can build another in the space of a day. A rough earthen vessel to hold water, leaves for plates, gourds for drinking-vessels, a piece of matting to sleep on, and a small axe, a sickle and a spear, exhaust the inventory of the Baiga's furniture, and the money value of the whole would not exceed a rupee. [96] The Baigas never live in a village with ...
— The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India - Volume II • R. V. Russell

... she held out something toward him, and again he adjusted his views to fit the companion whom he was growing to know. She had spoiled a very beautiful and expensive cloak, but of it she had improvised something intended to hold water. Not for very long, perhaps; but long enough for the journey here from the creek, if a man did not loiter on the way. With the ancient sacrificial knife she had hacked at a stringy, fibrous bit of vegetation growing near the mouth of ...
— Daughter of the Sun - A Tale of Adventure • Jackson Gregory

... bottom to be a rock of very large stones collected together...in half an hour after it was entirely empty it was again quite full of clear good water. We now filled all our empty casks and everything on board that would hold water intending to go to sea when the wind would permit. As in this cove wood is in plenty, and the water is not above 50 yards from the seaside; a vessel of any size may be wooded and watered in two or three days and ride secure from all wind either close in or further out. It ...
— The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson - With The Journal Of Her First Commander Lieutenant James Grant, R.N • Ida Lee

... the most important considerations in the cultivation of flowers. Should the soil be clayey, and hold water, make V-shaped drains, 3 ft. below the surface, and let 2-in. pipes lead to a deep hole made at the lowest part of the garden and filled with brick rubbish, or other porous substances, through which the water may drain; otherwise the cold, damp earth will ...
— Gardening for the Million • Alfred Pink

... to lay on your oars!" said Mr. Boulong with energy, when the first cutter was within a boat's length of the individual. "Hold water! Stand by to haul him in, Knott!" he added to the bow man. ...
— Across India - Or, Live Boys in the Far East • Oliver Optic

... else the next year. I remember I was pretty mad when my Eta Bita Pie brethren headed me up in a barrel and rolled me downhill into a creek without taking the trouble to remove all the nails. It seemed like wanton carelessness. But long before my nose was out of splints and my hide would hold water I was perfecting our famous "Lover's Leap" for the next year's bunch. That was our greatest triumph. There was an abandoned rock quarry north of town with thirty feet of water in the bottom and a fifty-foot drop to the water. By means ...
— At Good Old Siwash • George Fitch

... breakfast; or even than if the vagabond should protest before this honorable court that he did cut the lead, in order that he (the said vagabond) might have hot rolls and coffee as well as my lord, the witness. If Mr. Taylor's body of evidence does not hold water, then is there no evidence extant upon any question, judicial ...
— The Notebook of an English Opium-Eater • Thomas de Quincey

... to preserve the National Forests for the use of the people. The soil must be kept productive. Agriculture would be impossible without water, and the forests hold water. The West wants people to come to stay. The lumberman who slashes off the timber may get rich himself, but ...
— The Young Forester • Zane Grey

... range, and then fearing the party had not taken the precaution to bring along some water I went back to them and found they had none. I told them they would not see a drop for the next forty miles, and they unloaded the lightest wagon and drove back with everything they had which would hold water, to get a ...
— Death Valley in '49 • William Lewis Manly

... drink and all my content gone. But let me remember there was here and there a word where he hath writ tenderly of his poor Wife, and when I did see him weep my heart did pity him. But what hope or help, for a Jar mended may hold water, but yet the Cracks remain, and the worth gone for ...
— The Ladies - A Shining Constellation of Wit and Beauty • E. Barrington

... pounded on the floor as I walked around the gymnasium, while the lodge, headed by my chum, sung, 'We won't go home till morning' I stopped in front of the ice water tank, and said, 'Grand Worthy Duke, I bring before you a pilgrim who has drank of the dregs until his stomach won't hold water, and who desires to swear off.' The Grand Mogul asked me if he was worthy and well qualified, and I told him that he had been drunk more or less since the reunion last summer, which ought to qualify ...
— Peck's Compendium of Fun • George W. Peck

... or fastening it up so it couldn't be opened at all. We don't have a northeast rain-storm very often, and that's the only window that ever leaks—except the skylight and the round one in the west gable which is hung at the top to swing inward and couldn't be expected to hold water." ...
— The House that Jill Built - after Jack's had proved a failure • E. C. Gardner

... swiftly and thoroughly. Lie out of it to Colonel Tarleton and the others as you will; Captain John Stuart and the baronet are not here to contradict you, and you are the only witnesses. Knock together some story that will hold water and lose no time about it. Do ...
— The Master of Appleby • Francis Lynde

... camp, all the hunters feeling proud of what they had done. When we reached camp, we found the cook waiting for us with everything that would hold water and stand the fire that he could get hold of full of steaming hot water, ready to scald the turkeys, and all the men pitched in ...
— Chief of Scouts • W.F. Drannan

... not to sail till this evening, he may have brought the Islander out here to try her, and enable him to get accustomed to her ways before he took on board his passengers. That is all the explanation I can suggest, but I don't think it will hold water. He knows very well, for he has been around Cape Horn several times, that if he comes out here in a fog, he may not be able to get back to Jacksonville in time to take you on board to-night, or even to-morrow or ...
— Up the River - or, Yachting on the Mississippi • Oliver Optic

... to pull her dress to pieces, you find that the metal is only electro, to whatever rank of life she may belong. The general appearance may be pleasing, but in detail she is execrable. Not but that the materials of her dress are rich enough, so that my electro simile will hardly hold water; but money does not make the artist. Let us begin with the bonnet. Walk down Collins Street at the time of the block on Saturday, and I doubt whether you can count half a dozen bonnets which are both pretty and suitable to the face and head of the wearer. Bien ...
— Town Life in Australia - 1883 • R. E. N. (Richard) Twopeny

... to study and gain instruction will be to rationalise us a little. In the first place they will get tired of scholasticism, and when that has been got rid of there will be a change in the form of ideas, and it will be seen that the orthodox interpretation of the Bible does not hold water. But this will not be effected without a struggle, for your orthodox people are very tenacious in their dogmatism, and they will apply to themselves a certain quantity of Athanasian varnish which will close their eyes and ears. Yes, I should much like to be there! And I am ...
— Recollections of My Youth • Ernest Renan

... "But who expects it to hold water again? Is it not rather placed upon the shelf and forgotten—if, indeed, it be not ...
— Nicanor - Teller of Tales - A Story of Roman Britain • C. Bryson Taylor

... it won't hold water. It is inevitable that Eisenfeldt gets the rug and the paintings, and you are made comfortable for the rest of your days. A shabby business, and you shall ...
— The Pagan Madonna • Harold MacGrath

... of willow and grass, so closely wrought as to hold water, and a seine neatly made with meshes, in the ordinary manner, of the fibres of wild flax or nettle. The humble effects of the poor savages remained unmolested by their visitors, and a few small articles, with a knife or two, were left in ...
— Astoria - Or, Anecdotes Of An Enterprise Beyond The Rocky Mountains • Washington Irving

... "but I could not bring myself to that. I could not face the idea of your justifiable wrath. I wanted to win my wife and keep my friend. It was altogether a weak notion, that idea of secrecy, of course, and couldn't hold water for any time, as the result has shown; but I thought you would get over your disappointment quickly—those wounds are apt to heal so speedily—and fall in love elsewhere; and then it would have ...
— Fenton's Quest • M. E. Braddon

... losses he had produced a guinea, and had asked if any of the company could change it. Hislop had given change, and the guinea found in his possession was that which he had got from the soldier. "A story that would not for a moment hold water," said counsel, when the unfortunate men failed to produce evidence in support of their story; and the judge, in his summing up, agreeing with the opinion of counsel for the prosecution, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty, and both men were ...
— Stories of the Border Marches • John Lang and Jean Lang

... Ah! it is St. Agnes' Eve— Yet men will murder upon holy days: Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve, 120 And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays, To venture so: it fills me with amaze To see thee, Porphyro!—St. Agnes' Eve! God's help! my lady fair the conjuror plays This ...
— Keats: Poems Published in 1820 • John Keats

... instance when the evicted tenants question, then at its first inception, bulked largely in people's mind though, it goes without saying, not contributing a copper or pinning his faith absolutely to its dictums, some of which wouldn't exactly hold water, he at the outset in principle at all events was in thorough sympathy with peasant possession as voicing the trend of modern opinion (a partiality, however, which, realising his mistake, he was subsequently ...
— Ulysses • James Joyce

... watchword of democratic freedom led only to insecurity, indiscipline, and at length to the downfall and destruction of all authority. Our opponents' objection that we, too, once made use of these rights, will not hold water; for we made use of an unreasonable right, which was part and parcel of an unreasonable system, in order to overthrow the ...
— Readings on Fascism and National Socialism • Various

... for any other tree, because its roots are wide-spreading, like its branches. The earth should be thrown out to the depth of twenty inches, and four or five feet square, for an ordinary-sized tree. This, however, will not do on a heavy clay subsoil, for it would form a basin to hold water and injure the tree. A ditch, as low as the bottom of the holes, should extend from tree to tree, and running out of the orchard, constructed in the usual method of drains, and, whatever be the subsoil, the trees ...
— Soil Culture • J. H. Walden

... and wild flowers weave their lovely patterns for the earth floor, and tall pines spread their soft carpets of brown, while giant oaks and sycamores lift their cathedral arches to support the ceilings of green, and dark rock fountains set in banks of moss and fern hold water clear and cold. It was to one of these that Stanford Manning brought his bride for their honeymoon. Stanford himself pitched their tent and made their simple camp, for it was not in his plan that the sweet intimacy of these, ...
— When A Man's A Man • Harold Bell Wright

... bath tub, but one that will scarcely hold water, is shown in Fig. 95. In this the upper lap is left open, the points are bent under, and the sides left to curve naturally. A baby carriage can also be made in this way, but for the carriage the points must extend down and ...
— Little Folks' Handy Book • Lina Beard

... said, "upon this point I can only say that your story is grossly improbable. It won't hold water." ...
— The Errand Boy • Horatio Alger

... impose on your gentle trusting natures. So far from their overlooking it the bath had been the subject of earnest scrutiny, and they had all regretfully come to the conclusion that it lacked one important attribute of a bath—it wouldn't hold water. The ...
— Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, March 24, 1920. • Various



Words linked to "Hold water" :   hold out, live on, survive, last, stand up, go, live, endure



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