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verb with·hold \with-ˈhōld, with-\

Simple Definition of withhold

  • : to hold (something) back

  • : to refuse to provide (something)

  • : to take out (an amount of money for taxes) from someone's income

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of withhold


play \-ˈheld\


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to hold back from action :  check

  3. 2 archaic :  to keep in custody

  4. 3 :  to refrain from granting, giving, or allowing <withhold permission>

  5. 4 :  to deduct (withholding tax) from income

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  forbear, refrain <withhold from commenting>



Examples of withhold in a sentence

  1. She was accused of withholding evidence.

  2. She has $20 withheld from her paycheck every week.

Origin and Etymology of withhold

Middle English, from with from + holden to hold — more at with

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of withhold

keep, observe, celebrate, commemorate mean to notice or honor a day, occasion, or deed. keep stresses the idea of not neglecting or violating <kept the Sabbath by refraining from work>. observe suggests marking the occasion by ceremonious performance <not all holidays are observed nationally>. celebrate suggests acknowledging an occasion by festivity <traditionally celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge dinner>. commemorate suggests that an occasion is marked by observances that remind one of the origin and significance of the event <commemorate Memorial Day with the laying of wreaths>.

keep, retain, detain, withhold, reserve mean to hold in one's possession or under one's control. keep may suggest a holding securely in one's possession, custody, or control <keep this while I'm gone>. retain implies continued keeping, especially against threatened seizure or forced loss <managed to retain their dignity even in poverty>. detain suggests a delay in letting go <detained them for questioning>. withhold implies restraint in letting go or a refusal to let go <withheld information from the authorities>. reserve suggests a keeping in store for future use <reserve some of your energy for the last mile>.

Rhymes with withhold

acold, age-old, ahold, all told, behold, bifold, billfold, black gold, blindfold, blue mold, bread mold, choke hold, controlled, Cotswold, cuckold, eightfold, enfold, fanfold, fivefold, fool's gold, foothold, fourfold, freehold, gatefold, go gold, green mold, handhold, head cold, household, ice-cold, infold, knock cold, leaf mold, leasehold, make bold, ninefold, old gold, onefold, on hold, pinfold, potholed, roothold, scaffold, sheepfold, sixfold, slime mold, stokehold, stone-cold, stronghold, take hold, tenfold, threefold, threshold, toehold, twice-told, twofold, unfold, unmold, untold, uphold, white gold, whole-souled

WITHHOLD Defined for Kids


verb with·hold \with-ˈhōld, with-\

Definition of withhold for Students




  1. :  to refuse to give, grant, or allow <The teacher withheld permission.>

Seen and Heard

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a block used as a base for a statue

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