When you uphold something, you stick up for or support it. Police officers are paid to uphold the law, and crazy Elvis fans uphold their belief that he's still alive out there somewhere.

If you reverse the two parts of this word, you get hold up. And that's exactly what upholding is: holding up or supporting an idea or practice. You might uphold your dog's innocence, even though it's pretty obvious he dug up the neighbor's flower bed. When America fought for independence, we upheld the idea of fair representation. When you uphold something, you're taking a stand for it.

Definitions of uphold

v stand up for; stick up for; of causes, principles, or ideals

Type of:
defend, fend for, support
argue or speak in defense of

v support against an opponent

“The appellate court upheld the verdict”
justify, vindicate
show to be right by providing justification or proof
excuse, explain
serve as a reason or cause or justification of
show or affirm to be just and legitimate
Type of:
confirm, reassert
strengthen or make more firm

v keep or maintain in unaltered condition; cause to remain or last

bear on, carry on, continue, preserve
continue, go forward, proceed
move ahead; travel onward in time or space
continue, go along, go on, keep, proceed
continue a certain state, condition, or activity
cease, discontinue, give up, lay off, quit, stop
put an end to a state or an activity
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re-start, restart, resume
take up or begin anew
hang in, hang on, hold on, persevere, persist
be persistent, refuse to stop
cause to continue or prevail
keep up, prolong, sustain
lengthen or extend in duration or space
preserve while making lifeless
persist stubbornly
ask for it, ask for trouble
persist with actions or an attitude despite the probability that it will cause trouble
plug, plug away
persist in working hard
follow, stick to, stick with
keep to
continue, keep, keep on, retain
allow to remain in a place or position or maintain a property or feature
cause to continue indefinitely
Type of:
hold, keep, maintain
keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g., "keep clean"

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