Hold 101

To hold is a verb that comes from the Latin detentāre. The action of holding consists of illegitimately appropriating something, retaining it and making use of it that does not correspond to the person in question.

Although that is the correct definition of the term according to the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), it is common to find another use of the concept, especially in the media.

In this sense, many people use the verb to hold as a synonym for holding, exercising or similar actions. For example: “The midfielder was proud to hold the captain’s ribbon”, “Gómez will be the one to hold the direction of the new office”. Instead, it would be appropriate to express himself in the following way: “The midfielder was proud to wear the captain’s tape”, “Gómez will be the one who directs the new office”.

The notion of holding, therefore, should be limited to name the actions of someone who accesses a power, position or privilege by using force or another illegitimate mechanism: “The armed forces have held power since 1987, when they overthrew the constitutional president”, “The management of the club is held by someone who committed fraud to win the last elections”.

These assessments allow us to affirm that a ruler elected democratically and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution does not hold office. Said verb should be limited to those who come to power through a coup d’etat, a revolution or another mechanism not contemplated by the legislation. See Abbreviation Finder for acronyms related to Hold.

The incorrect use of this term reaches the extreme of acquiring the completely opposite meaning, that is, “exercising a position or power to which one has legitimately promoted”. Something similar can happen with words such as must and have, which generate a lot of confusion in everyday speech for people outside the economy, particularly because their meanings are relative: the goods to which they refer depend on who is speaking.

But it is still curious that popular language leads a word to its opposite meaning. This shows us the weight that customs have in shaping culture, even when it comes to those that deform or degrade the pillars on which they rest. The academies of the language do not usually go against these incorrect uses, but adapt to them; and it is in this way that little by little our language accepts terms like «yin» instead of its English version «jean» or the absence of a tilde in the adverb «only», generating great confusion for those who use it correctly.

Among the most common synonyms of the verb to hold we can mention the following: usurp, appropriate and retain. There are others, some of which are less explicit, as occurs with the word get, since it does not express the illicit nature with which it is carried out. Over the centuries, many rulers achieved their position of power through imposition, using military force to strike fear into the opposition, thus writing the bloodiest pages in human history.

We must emphasize that the human being is the only species that uses “artificial” resources to climb its social hierarchy: the rest of the animals must prove their superiority to become leaders, and it is in this way that their communities are guaranteed the future, because they are always guided by the most suitable individual, the strongest, the most intuitive, the one who can make the best decisions for the good of the group. To hold a position, on the other hand, no positive quality is necessary, and clearly it is not done with the common good in mind, but rather with personal interests.


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