hold·​back | \ ˈhōl(d)-ˌbak How to pronounce holdback (audio) \

Definition of holdback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that retains or restrains
2a : the act of holding back
b : something held back

hold back

held back; holding back; holds back

Definition of hold back (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to hinder the progress or achievement of : restrain
b : to keep from advancing to the next stage, grade, or level
2 : to refrain from revealing or parting with held back important information

intransitive verb

1 : to keep oneself in check
2 : to refrain from revealing or parting with something

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Examples of holdback in a Sentence


there'll be a holdback on production until the new machinery is fully installed the only holdback to starting the new job is my contractual commitment to my current position


the only thing holding Joe back from joining the swim team is lack of transportation held back her tears until she was alone
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Connecticut Department of Education sent Canterbury town officials a letter saying that the additional holdback of $250,000 would incur a $500,000 Education Cost Sharing penalty. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Canterbury Boards Battle Over Roof Replacement, Education Budget," 3 Apr. 2018 Legislation is being discussed to do away with the penalty associated with cuts made after holdbacks were announced. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Canterbury Boards Battle Over Roof Replacement, Education Budget," 3 Apr. 2018 Negotiators from the House had agreed near the end of the regular session to lower the holdback to $100 million. Lsu Manship School News Service, NOLA.com, "An LSU student's analysis of the Legislature's budget impasse," 13 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Season it with salt and pepper, and don’t hold back — Roman recommends 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Don’t want to mess up that big piece of meat you just bought? Enter the reverse sear.," 9 Sep. 2019 There was also time to dig out the other two members of the party, with the former Manchester United midfielder not holding back in his attack of the players. SI.com, "Roy Keane & Jon Walters Feud: What Led to the Latest Outburst From Former Ireland Coach," 5 Sep. 2019 Lead prosecuting attorney Celia Rowland didn’t hold back from describing her apparent disdain toward Ruiz. Melissa Murphy, The Mercury News, "Convicted of murdering 24-year-old Santa Cruz transient, defendants receive life sentences," 27 Aug. 2019 Miami offensive coordinator Dan Enos didn’t hold back about his quarterback’s play after the Hurricanes’ 24-20 loss to Florida on Saturday. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Jerraud Powers on Miami’s Dan Enos: ’Same coach who left Bama in the middle of the night’," 27 Aug. 2019 There's no minimum on the coupon, but don't hold back, either because the beloved brand is offering a complimentary three-piece gift on purchases of $125 or more. Alexis Rhiannon, Allure, "The Kiehl's Friends and Family Sale Is Happening Now," 23 Apr. 2019 Brennan, who joined NBC News and MSNBC in February as a contributor and senior national security and intelligence adviser, has not held back in his criticism of Trump. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "John Brennan agrees with Bill Maher that Trump presidency is 'third great crisis in American history'," 25 Aug. 2018 Royce Freeman, Broncos: Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson won’t hold back Freeman for long. Eddie Brown, sandiegouniontribune.com, "32 Fantasy Football Impact Rookies to Watch," 7 June 2018 Bolton reportedly was trying to hold back Trump from leaping into a peace agreement with the Taliban, and his pressure was said to be behind the scrapping of a meeting at Camp David to announce the deal. Ron Kampeas, sun-sentinel.com, "What does John Bolton’s departure mean for Israel?," 11 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holdback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of holdback


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1535, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for holdback

The first known use of holdback was in 1535

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More from Merriam-Webster on holdback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holdback

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to be made up of

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