closely held


: having most stock shares and voting rights in the hands of a few
a closely held business

Examples of closely held in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Information about law enforcement investigations is often also closely held, although in this case, which involves an investigation of a sitting president, the Justice Department and the White House might not agree on how the privilege should be applied. Perry Stein, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2024 This meant that both the surveillance information and the technology to get it were closely held national security secrets. Christopher Nichols, The Conversation, 14 Aug. 2023 Those who were involved in the scheme kept the strategy closely held, according to three former campaign officials. Amy Gardner,, 7 Aug. 2023 Also, according to current case law, it should be closely held by the government. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 18 June 2023 Most of them spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the lead-up to an extraordinary transaction — one so closely held that most of golf’s eminent bankers, lawyers and broadcast partners had no warning that it was even being discussed. Kate Kelly, New York Times, 10 June 2023 Almost until the very end, the details were closely held and in flux. Austin Weinstein, Fortune, 4 June 2023 There are sensitive, need-to-know documents like the President’s Daily Brief, a compendium of the latest intelligence is closely held among a small circle of senior officials. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2023 Prosecutors would also have to show that the documents related to the national defense, that they were closely held and that their disclosure could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary. Charlie Savage,, 19 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'closely held.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1946, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of closely held was in 1946

Dictionary Entries Near closely held

Cite this Entry

“Closely held.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Legal Definition

closely held

close·​ly held
: having most stock shares and corporate voting rights in the hands of a few shareholders
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