“Hold up”: phrasal verb meaning.

Hold up
If you are “held up” or something or someone “holds you up” it means that you have to stay somewhere longer than you thought and longer than you were supposed to and the reason is beyond your control (is not something you decide and you have no control over it).

Other examples of “hold up” phrasal verb in a sentence

  • Why aren’t you here yet? Is something holding you up?
  • My plane was held up and that’s why I’m not on time.
  • He always gets held up at work.

“Hold up”: use in context explanation

Gina usually comes straight back home after work. Sometimes, though, she likes to stop by her favourite clothes shop to check if they have any new arrivals. She is in the shop now and she receives a phone call from her husband. He is concerned why she hasn’t come back home yet. Gina knows her husband doesn’t like when she goes shopping and spends money so she knows she has to make up an excuse. She doesn’t tell the truth, she says she’s been held up at work so she has to stay a bit longer, because her boss has asked her to. She hopes her husband will believe it and she continues her shopping.