toehold

A toehold is a sturdy spot where you can put your foot, especially when you're climbing. If you don't find a safe toehold, you'll never manage to get over that fence to get your baseball back.

A literal toehold is an area where at least part of your foot can fit and that's strong enough to hold your weight. A figurative toehold is a tiny advance that gives you a small start toward progress. Getting an internship at a publishing company will give you a toehold in the industry. The literal definition, "support for the toe of a boot in climbing," dates from the late nineteenth century.

Definitions of toehold
  1. noun
    a relatively insignificant position from which future progress might be made
    “American diplomacy provided a toehold on which to proceed toward peace talks”
    “his father gave him a toehold in the oil business”
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    type of:
    position, status
    the relative position or standing of things or especially persons in a society
  2. noun
    a small foothold used in climbing
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    type of:
    foothold, footing
    a place providing support for the foot in standing or climbing
  3. noun
    a wrestling hold in which the toe is held and the leg is twisted against the joints
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    type of:
    wrestling hold
    a hold used in the sport of wrestling
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