Found only Differenze tra "tenere" e "sostenere"

All these words means "hold" in some sort. In dictionaries I have found next:

tenere - is basic "hold", hold something in hands for example. Correct?
sostenere - hold, more like support, which demands some sort of efforts, not necessary phisically. Correct?
reggere - "hold on", "get over". I must hold on. I must get over this. Is that correct?
sorreggere - with this have no good ideas, it's like sostenere, but what difference?

  • Just to understand what kind of suggestion can be useful: is your knowledge of Italian sufficient to understand a monolingual Italian dictionary (such as this or this)? If so, they are often far better than bilingual dictionaries to understand the differences and nuances among words with similar meanings.
    – DaG
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 20:29
  • 1
    @DaG No, not enough, i've learning italiano for less than half year, I know basic grammar and 2500 words. ( I've tried use treccani, but in some cases it's just not understandable by me ( My goal is 10k words for now with understanding meaning of words and not only translate, than advanced grammar
    – DuhVir
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 20:40
  • I see, thanks for clarifying, and congratulations for your progress in studying Italian and its fine points.
    – DaG
    Commented Jul 4, 2020 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


tenere - is basic "hold", hold something in hands ... Correct?

Yes, and also "mantenere". You can tenere something in your hands, in your mind, under your eyes. When driving a car you have to "tenere la destra" in Italy (stay on the right side of the road). Less correctly (dialectal) some people also use "tenere" to mean "to have": "tenere fame" = "avere fame". In some circumstances "tenere" (but not mantenere) means also "resist an effort": "la colla tiene" means "the glue resists". It is a broad verb, there are many locutions using it but it would take lot of space (and memory).

sostenere ... more like support ... not necessary phisically. Correct?

Yes again. In a physical context, to impede that something falls down. In a figurative context it means "to mantain an opinion", "to have and express an opinion", or to approve and support the thought of someone else: "ti sostengo" = "I think the same (and I am supporting you)".

reggere - "hold on", "get over". I must hold on. I must get over this. Is that correct?

Sorry, not quite, especially not "get over": the verb expresses a static situation. It is, physically, very like "sostenere": to avoid that something falls down. Figuratively it is similar, with a few meanings; for example "reggere allo sforzo" = "to withstand the (opposing) force"; in a few cases it means "be in charge" of something quite important, to be the chief, like "reggere il trono" - literally "to keep the throne" (be the king).


To keep it simple, it is mostly the same as "reggere". Perhaps, sometimes one says "sorretto" (past participle) instead of "retto" because this last word can have other meanings.

  • Thank you for explanation, some dictionaries need to be fixed ) So "Reggere" is a relative to "il re" and "la regina" or it just coincidence?
    – DuhVir
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 9:42
  • And If you can, give me please one example of "sorregere" where "reggere" will not be quite appropriate, and "sorregere" fits best.
    – DuhVir
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 9:53
  • @DuhVir for reggere and "il re", it seems not a coincidence: it.wiktionary.org/wiki/reggere . Then I think everywhere you use sorreggere, you can also use reggere. The real definition of sorreggere would be something like "hold from below". But I am not a guru, and I wanted to keep things simple. Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 11:26
  • Yes, thank you. I've also found meaning like "base with pillars holding something"
    – DuhVir
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 11:35

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