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

Noun 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 Verb 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 Typical issues are: The amount and length of the escrow holdback for indemnification claims. Gary Miller, The Denver Post, "Gary Miller: Negotiation mistakes that will kill a business sale — a case study," 27 Oct. 2019 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 The United States’ army at the time was only slightly larger than Bulgaria’s, with little ability to hold back illiberal forces in Central Europe. Daniel Immerwahr, The New Yorker, "Should America Still Police the World?," 18 Nov. 2020 By this time, hitching a ride on a lifeboat becomes unlikely.3 Only a few remain, and the surge to get on them is so intense the crew members lock arms at one point to hold back the crowd. Cody Cassidy, Wired, "How to Escape a Sinking Ship (Like, Say, the Titanic)," 30 Oct. 2020 The decision wasn’t, however, an indication of a need to hold back Stowers. Joseph Hoyt, Dallas News, "Denton Guyer still ‘work in progress’ heading into pivotal Prosper matchup, but not a team with limitations," 27 Oct. 2020 What Trump doesn't say is that in February 2016, a few months after Biden threatened to hold back a $1 billion loan guarantee, the International Monetary Fund threatened to delay $40 billion in aid unless Ukraine took action to fight corruption. Hope Yen, Star Tribune, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump's falsehoods on virus, taxes and Bidens," 18 Oct. 2020 The dam is a giant, menacing barrier that could be used to hold back the source of nearly all the country’s water. Washington Post, "Africa’s largest dam powers dreams of prosperity in Ethiopia — and fears of hunger in Egypt," 15 Oct. 2020 In August, the mayor of New Orleans asked for donations to hold back the swell of evictions in her city. Matthew Desmond, New York Times, "The Tenants Who Evicted Their Landlord," 13 Oct. 2020 Revisiting a state law that requires schools to hold back third-graders who can't read at grade level. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "Civil rights report lays out ways Michigan schools can level playing field," 30 Sep. 2020 In recent days China has grown angry over a shopping list of American arms that Taiwan wants in order to hold back the kind of invasion China reserves the right to launch against it. The Economist, "Banyan Even as countries peck at each other, their birdwatchers co-operate," 26 Sep. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of holdback was in 1535

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Cite this Entry

“Holdback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holdback. Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

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