• WordNet 3.6
    • n holdfast restraint that attaches to something or holds something in place
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Holdfast (Bot) A conical or branching body, by which a seaweed is attached to its support, and differing from a root in that it is not specially absorbent of moisture.
    • Holdfast Something used to secure and hold in place something else, as a long flat-headed nail, a catch a hook, a clinch, a clamp, etc.; hence, a support. "His holdfast was gone."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n holdfast That which is used to secure and hold something in place; a catch; a hook; a clamp.
    • n holdfast Support; hold.
    • holdfast Holding fast; firm; steady.
    • n holdfast The root-like organ of attachment developed by many of the algæ. Also haptere and rhizoid.
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In literature:

I cowered to my holdfasts, envying even Croisette.
"The House of the Wolf" by Stanley Weyman
Messrs. Holdfast and Ransome had an ally inside the house.
"Put Yourself in His Place" by Charles Reade
Brag is a good dog, Don Pedro, but Holdfast is a better one.
"The Green Mummy" by Fergus Hume
The crests behind them deepened in purple as the saffron faded in the west, and a gossamer cloud of Tyrian dye floated over Holdfast.
"Mr. Crewe's Career, Complete" by Winston Churchill
It gave the proclamation of the province, which was made under the historic gum tree near Holdfast Bay, now Glenelg.
"An Autobiography" by Catherine Helen Spence
Jim Holdfast, whom I took out with me, and who promises to turn out a prime sailor, was forward.
"Ernest Bracebridge" by William H. G. Kingston
He must have well known his terrible danger, for a sea might in a moment wash him away, in spite of his holdfast.
"The Missing Ship" by W. H. G. Kingston
Holdfast, as well as Humphrey's puppy, which had been named Watch, had grown very fine young animals.
"The Children of the New Forest" by Captain Marryat
But now of the holdfast, which is our special subject.
"Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 454" by Various
Shake we off these violent holdfasts which engage us and estrange us from ourselves.
"The World's Greatest Books--Volume 14--Philosophy and Economics" by Various
These last two are the best holdfasts of glass within my experience.
"Practical Taxidermy" by Montagu Browne
The claspers now become the holdfasts.
"Butterflies and Moths" by William S. Furneaux
In one of these, cunningly hidden by the vine, were small holdfasts, by which an active man might climb to the roof.
"The Great Mogul" by Louis Tracy
The holdfast was missin', an' the rope was beginning' to unlay, so I whipped the end of it.
"Paradise Bend" by William Patterson White
There is another holdfast at this corner.
"Barrington Volume I (of II)" by Charles James Lever
Specimens were obtained from holdfasts or from dredging.
"Journal of Entomology and Zoology" by Horace Gunthorp
Australia, on Holdfast Bay, 6-1/2 m. by rail S.S.W.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 12, Slice 1" by Various
You knew, madam," he repeated, his face darkening, "on what a narrow edge I stood, and you dashed away my one holdfast?
"The Abbess Of Vlaye" by Stanley J. Weyman
Holdfast of roots, 42.
"Disease in Plants" by H. Marshall Ward
Brag's a good dog, but Holdfast is a better.
"Dictionary of English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases" by Thomas Preston

In news:

On Monday's edition of "The Freak Power Ticket," The Holdfast Rifle Company make their in-studio debut on KCSB, sharing their brand of honky tonkin' country-and-western music live on 91.9 FM (kcsb.org).
The Holdfast Rifle Company LIVE on "The Freak Power Ticket" (Monday, September 5).
Gramercy Holdfasts-the Real Story.
44.99 Description: PCMag's Camera Analyst Jim Fisher uses this American-made HoldFast Camera Leash as a wrist strap for lighter cameras.
Caulobacter crescentus affixes itself to solid objects with its stalk and holdfast.