hold·​up | \ ˈhōld-ˌəp How to pronounce holdup (audio) \

Definition of holdup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : delay
2 : a robbery carried out at gunpoint

hold up

held up; holding up; holds up

Definition of hold up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to rob at gunpoint
3 : to call attention to : single out his work was held up to ridicule hold this up as perfectionThe Times Literary Supplement (London)

intransitive verb

: to continue in the same condition without failing or losing effectiveness or force she's holding up under the strain music that holds up twenty years later

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Examples of holdup in a Sentence

Noun There have been a series of holdups at local banks. a holdup in construction due to the weather Verb held up mail delivery until we had a permanent address traffic was held up for miles by the accident
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The holdup happened at 10:23 p.m. Friday at the Exxon at 4101 First Avenue North. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Man sought after shoplifting from Birmingham store, pushing clerk to the ground," 29 Oct. 2019 William Jeffery Ellis pleaded guilty to bank robbery in July, almost three months after his most recent holdup in April at Smart Financial at East FM 1960. Rafa Farihah, Houston Chronicle, "Man dubbed 'routine robber' gets 4 years for bank heists," 28 Oct. 2019 Republican lawmakers shared Democrats’ concerns about the holdup in aid, as did Pentagon and State Department officials. Los Angeles Times, "Ukraine aid delay sparked bipartisan scramble to keep millions from expiring," 14 Oct. 2019 But Trump did not suggest that Perry had anything to do with the pressure on Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, or a U.S. holdup in military aid to the country, the person said. Alan Fram, Twin Cities, "Aide: Perry pushed Trump for Ukraine call, for energy issues," 6 Oct. 2019 In each holdup, the suspect wore dark clothing and a face covering. Alyssa Lukpat, BostonGlobe.com, "FBI offering reward for identifying dangerous ‘Inconvenient Crook’ in robbery spree," 9 July 2019 Meanwhile, holdups at Germany’s key automobile factories pushed Europe’s largest economy to the brink of recession in the final six months of last year. Brian Blackstone, WSJ, "ECB Worries Over Economy Mount, But Stands Pat on Rates," 24 Jan. 2019 The holdup happened in the Trinity Commons parking lot about 9:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the email. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Hartford police investigate armed carjacking at Trinity," 13 Sep. 2019 Officials fear that if there is a disorderly withdrawal from Europe, the holdups from the trucks could snarl traffic across northern France. Washington Post, "These 5 countries are busy prepping for a post-Brexit world," 6 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Did Zelensky ever address Trump's aid being held up with him? NBC News, "Transcript: What About Pence?," 11 Nov. 2019 Although Jones held up a photo of a person who had no connection to the Stone trial, legal experts said the effect was the same as if the person had been a juror. Deanna Paul, sun-sentinel.com, "Infowars’ Alex Jones threatened to name Roger Stone juror. Is that jury tampering?," 8 Nov. 2019 Both are witnesses in the investigation and were asked whether military aid to Ukraine was held up for political favors. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "A family slain in Mexico," 6 Nov. 2019 The 30-second ad is filled with plenty of campy moments, including when the actor holds up a holiday jello dish that looks questionable, to say the least. Hanna Flanagan, PEOPLE.com, "Macaulay Culkin Recreates Iconic Home Alone Scream Scene in New Happy Socks Campaign," 5 Nov. 2019 If the results hold up, Weseley and Frazier are headed for a runoff. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire voters re-elect mayor, split on council members," 5 Nov. 2019 Morrison, who stepped down the day before his testimony, confirmed that military aid to Ukraine was held up by Trump's demands for the investigations. chicagotribune.com, "The week ahead in the Trump impeachment inquiry: Democrats seek John Bolton’s testimony, prepare to release transcripts," 4 Nov. 2019 Marvell Tell With Pierre Desir down for the second week in a row, the fifth-round pick out of USC got to play starter’s snaps at cornerback, and Tell held up well. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Thumbs up, thumb down: Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell come up big in place of T.Y. Hilton," 4 Nov. 2019 While some of the children held up British flags, in honor of Harry's visit, others were clearly fixated on the fact that a real-life prince was in their presence. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Reminds Fans He's Married After "Handsome" Compliment," 3 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holdup.' 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 holdup


1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1851, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for holdup

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for holdup

The first known use of holdup was in 1837

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More Definitions for holdup


How to pronounce hold up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of holdup

: a usually brief delay
: a robbery that is done using a gun


hold·​up | \ ˈhōld-ˌəp How to pronounce holdup (audio) \

Kids Definition of holdup

1 : robbery by an armed robber
2 : delay entry 1 Why aren't we moving? What's the holdup?



Legal Definition of holdup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an attempted or completed robbery carried out with the use of force and especially at gunpoint

Legal Definition of hold up (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make the victim of a holdup : rob at gunpoint

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More from Merriam-Webster on holdup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holdup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdup

Spanish Central: Translation of holdup

Nglish: Translation of holdup for Spanish Speakers

Comments on holdup

What made you want to look up holdup? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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