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Can I say "he held a pompous disregard for societal norms"? I'm not sure whether a "disregard" can be "held"

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  • Why not just say, “He had a pompous disregard for societal norms”?
    – user320354
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 6:26
  • Disregard is an opinion, so I would say it could be held.
    – Balaz2ta
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 6:34

1 Answer 1

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My first instinct was to say "Of course a 'disregard' can be 'held'". But as I searched I realised how interesting your question is.

Using Google search (note number of results vary when repeating searches, even over a matter of minutes sometimes):

present tense
"have a disregard for" - 1,590 results
"hold a disregard for" - 84 results
ratio of 19 to 1

present tense third person
"has a disregard for" - 172,000 results
"holds a disregard for" - 26 results
ratio of 6615 to 1

simple past tense
"had a disregard for" - 719 results
"held a disregard for" - 53 results
ratio of 14 to 1

This is very interesting. Why, if a "disregard" can be both "had" and "held", is there such an enormous variability among the result figures? I hope my Google search is working properly.

So do these results mean that to hold a disregard is wrong or a bad formation? Here are some other examples:

"built a shed to" - 83,900 results
"constructed a shed to" - 66 results
ratio of 1,271 to 1

Is "construct a shed" wrong? Is it badly formed?

Trying with an emotion/feeling:
"had affection for" - 18,600 results
"held affection for" - 12,500 results
ratio of 1.5 to 1

Trying with "admiration", an antonym given for "disregard"
"has admiration for" - 9,290 results
"held admiration for" - 4,000 results
ratio of 2.3 to 1

So that might give you some perspective. Next I'll give some definitions from dictionaries and explain why I think that yes, you can "hold a disregard".

hold
17.(tr) to keep in the mind:
to hold affection for someone.
Collins English Dictionary

8.
a. To keep in the mind or convey as a judgment, conviction, or point of view
American Heritage Dictionary

7a : to have in the mind or express as a judgment, opinion, or belief
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

So if we take the above meanings you should come to the conclusion that a "disregard" can be held in the mind. However even without these definitions "hold" and "have" in this particular context mean pretty much the same thing. In definitions of "hold" the word "have" is mentioned repeatedly. And in definitions of "have" the word "hold" is often mentioned.

have
4. to hold or entertain in the mind: to have an idea.
Collins English Dictionary

"He has shares in" - 33,800 results
"He holds shares in" - 21,200 results
"has" has about 50% more results than "holds"

However consider "Have the lead" and "Hold the lead" (in a race); two very different things.

I was at first made unsure by the initial search results I got, but I say of course you can "hold a disregard". I don't see why not.

Quotations:

MILLER v. STATE
Court of Appeals of Indiana
... it is my view that the trial court could have found that Miller acted recklessly and held a disregard for the consequences even though the evidence failed to show that Miller intended to kill the officers.
Judgment from 2000

He told the jury that Menendez feared abandonment, experienced rapidly shifting, shallow emotions, and held a disregard for the truth and a disrespect for the law.
LA Times article from 1996

With that said, "have" definitely is more common. But I see nothing wrong with "hold".

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  • Before I even read your answer, I was thinking about how normal it is to hold somebody in high regard. And how less common is in low regard. But I've never heard anybody say anything about holding somebody in either high or low disregard. Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 16:55

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