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to hold water
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Hold \Hold\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Held; p. pr. & vb. n. Holding. Holden, p. p., is obs. in elegant writing, though still used in legal language.] [OE. haldan, D. houden, OHG. hoten, Icel. halda, Dan. holde, Sw. h[*a]lla, Goth. haldan to feed, tend (the cattle); of unknown origin. Gf. Avast, Halt, Hod.] [1913 Webster] 1. To cause to remain in a given situation, position, or relation, within certain limits, or the like; to prevent from falling or escaping; to sustain; to restrain; to keep in the grasp; to retain. [1913 Webster] The loops held one curtain to another. --Ex. xxxvi. 12. [1913 Webster] Thy right hand shall hold me. --Ps. cxxxix. 10. [1913 Webster] They all hold swords, being expert in war. --Cant. iii. 8. [1913 Webster] In vain he seeks, that having can not hold. --Spenser. [1913 Webster] France, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue, . . . A fasting tiger safer by the tooth, Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To retain in one's keeping; to maintain possession of, or authority over; not to give up or relinquish; to keep; to defend. [1913 Webster] We mean to hold what anciently we claim Of deity or empire. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 3. To have; to possess; to be in possession of; to occupy; to derive title to; as, to hold office. [1913 Webster] This noble merchant held a noble house. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Of him to hold his seigniory for a yearly tribute. --Knolles. [1913 Webster] And now the strand, and now the plain, they held. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] 4. To impose restraint upon; to limit in motion or action; to bind legally or morally; to confine; to restrain. [1913 Webster] We can not hold mortality's strong hand. --Shak. [1913 Webster] Death! what do'st? O, hold thy blow. --Grashaw. [1913 Webster] He had not sufficient judgment and self-command to hold his tongue. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster] 5. To maintain in being or action; to carry on; to prosecute, as a course of conduct or an argument; to continue; to sustain. [1913 Webster] Hold not thy peace, and be not still. --Ps. lxxxiii. 1. [1913 Webster] Seedtime and harvest, heat and hoary frost, Shall hold their course. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 6. To prosecute, have, take, or join in, as something which is the result of united action; as to, hold a meeting, a festival, a session, etc.; hence, to direct and bring about officially; to conduct or preside at; as, the general held a council of war; a judge holds a court; a clergyman holds a service. [1913 Webster] I would hold more talk with thee. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 7. To receive and retain; to contain as a vessel; as, this pail holds milk; hence, to be able to receive and retain; to have capacity or containing power for. [1913 Webster] Broken cisterns that can hold no water. --Jer. ii. 13. [1913 Webster] One sees more devils than vast hell can hold. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 8. To accept, as an opinion; to be the adherent of, openly or privately; to persist in, as a purpose; to maintain; to sustain. [1913 Webster] Stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught. --2 Thes. ii.15. [1913 Webster] But still he held his purpose to depart. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] 9. To consider; to regard; to esteem; to account; to think; to judge. [1913 Webster] I hold him but a fool. --Shak. [1913 Webster] I shall never hold that man my friend. --Shak. [1913 Webster] The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. --Ex. xx. 7. [1913 Webster] 10. To bear, carry, or manage; as he holds himself erect; he holds his head high. [1913 Webster] Let him hold his fingers thus. --Shak. [1913 Webster] To hold a wager, to lay or hazard a wager. --Swift. To hold forth, (a) v. t.to offer; to exhibit; to propose; to put forward. "The propositions which books hold forth and pretend to teach." --Locke. (b) v. i. To talk at length; to harangue. To held in, to restrain; to curd. To hold in hand, to toy with; to keep in expectation; to have in one's power. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] O, fie! to receive favors, return falsehoods, And hold a lady in hand. --Beaw. & Fl. To hold in play, to keep under control; to dally with. --Macaulay. To hold off, to keep at a distance. To hold on, to hold in being, continuance or position; as, to hold a rider on. To hold one's day, to keep one's appointment. [Obs.] --Chaucer. To hold one's own. To keep good one's present condition absolutely or relatively; not to fall off, or to lose ground; as, a ship holds her own when she does not lose ground in a race or chase; a man holds his own when he does not lose strength or weight. To hold one's peace, to keep silence. To hold out. (a) To extend; to offer. "Fortune holds out these to you as rewards." --B. Jonson. (b) To continue to do or to suffer; to endure. "He can not long hold out these pangs." --Shak. To hold up. (a) To raise; to lift; as, hold up your head. (b) To support; to sustain. "He holds himself up in virtue."--Sir P. Sidney. (c) To exhibit; to display; as, he was held up as an example. (d) To rein in; to check; to halt; as, hold up your horses. (e) to rob, usually at gunpoint; -- often with the demand to "hold up" the hands. (f) To delay. To hold water. (a) Literally, to retain water without leaking; hence (Fig.), to be whole, sound, consistent, without gaps or holes; -- commonly used in a negative sense; as, his statements will not hold water. [Colloq.] (b) (Naut.) To hold the oars steady in the water, thus checking the headway of a boat. [1913 Webster] .
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Water \Wa"ter\ (w[add]"t[~e]r), n. [AS. w[ae]ter; akin to OS. watar, OFries. wetir, weter, LG. & D. water, G. wasser, OHG. wazzar, Icel. vatn, Sw. vatten, Dan. vand, Goth. wat[=o], O. Slav. & Russ. voda, Gr. 'y`dwr, Skr. udan water, ud to wet, and perhaps to L. unda wave. [root]137. Cf. Dropsy, Hydra, Otter, Wet, Whisky.] 1. The fluid which descends from the clouds in rain, and which forms rivers, lakes, seas, etc. "We will drink water." --Shak. "Powers of fire, air, water, and earth." --Milton. [1913 Webster] Note: Pure water consists of hydrogen and oxygen, H2O, and is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, transparent liquid, which is very slightly compressible. At its maximum density, 39[deg] Fahr. or 4[deg] C., it is the standard for specific gravities, one cubic centimeter weighing one gram. It freezes at 32[deg] Fahr. or 0[deg] C. and boils at 212[deg] Fahr. or 100[deg] C. (see Ice, Steam). It is the most important natural solvent, and is frequently impregnated with foreign matter which is mostly removed by distillation; hence, rain water is nearly pure. It is an important ingredient in the tissue of animals and plants, the human body containing about two thirds its weight of water. [1913 Webster] 2. A body of water, standing or flowing; a lake, river, or other collection of water. [1913 Webster] Remembering he had passed over a small water a poor scholar when first coming to the university, he kneeled. --Fuller. [1913 Webster] 3. Any liquid secretion, humor, or the like, resembling water; esp., the urine. [1913 Webster] 4. (Pharm.) A solution in water of a gaseous or readily volatile substance; as, ammonia water. --U. S. Pharm. [1913 Webster] 5. The limpidity and luster of a precious stone, especially a diamond; as, a diamond of the first water, that is, perfectly pure and transparent. Hence, of the first water, that is, of the first excellence. [1913 Webster] 6. A wavy, lustrous pattern or decoration such as is imparted to linen, silk, metals, etc. See Water, v. t., 3, Damask, v. t., and Damaskeen. [1913 Webster] 7. An addition to the shares representing the capital of a stock company so that the aggregate par value of the shares is increased while their value for investment is diminished, or "diluted." [Brokers' Cant] [1913 Webster] Note: Water is often used adjectively and in the formation of many self-explaining compounds; as, water drainage; water gauge, or water-gauge; waterfowl, water-fowl, or water fowl; water-beaten; water-borne, water-circled, water-girdled, water-rocked, etc. [1913 Webster] Hard water. See under Hard. Inch of water, a unit of measure of quantity of water, being the quantity which will flow through an orifice one inch square, or a circular orifice one inch in diameter, in a vertical surface, under a stated constant head; also called miner's inch, and water inch. The shape of the orifice and the head vary in different localities. In the Western United States, for hydraulic mining, the standard aperture is square and the head from 4 to 9 inches above its center. In Europe, for experimental hydraulics, the orifice is usually round and the head from 1/2 of an inch to 1 inch above its top. Mineral water, waters which are so impregnated with foreign ingredients, such as gaseous, sulphureous, and saline substances, as to give them medicinal properties, or a particular flavor or temperature. Soft water, water not impregnated with lime or mineral salts. To hold water. See under Hold, v. t. To keep one's head above water, to keep afloat; fig., to avoid failure or sinking in the struggles of life. [Colloq.] To make water. (a) To pass urine. --Swift. (b) (Naut.) To admit water; to leak. Water of crystallization (Chem.), the water combined with many salts in their crystalline form. This water is loosely, but, nevertheless, chemically, combined, for it is held in fixed and definite amount for each substance containing it. Thus, while pure copper sulphate, CuSO4, is a white amorphous substance, blue vitriol, the crystallized form, CuSO4.5H2O, contains five molecules of water of crystallization. Water on the brain (Med.), hydrocephalus. Water on the chest (Med.), hydrothorax. [1913 Webster] Note: Other phrases, in which water occurs as the first element, will be found in alphabetical order in the Vocabulary. [1913 Webster]