hold·​back | \ˈhōl(d)-ˌbak \

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


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

Bella Thorne is never one to hold back on social media and has caused quite a stir with past posts. Gianluca Russo, Teen Vogue, "Fans Wonder If Bella Thorne's Instagram Was Hacked," 22 Sep. 2018 Agreeing to hold back on emissions reduction systems might allow several car makers to look as if their cars are no worse than other similar cars as far as emissions in those third-party tests. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "EU investigating German automakers, alleging collusion on emissions tech," 19 Sep. 2018 The White House agreed to hold back the information, which was also disclosed to the Mueller investigation. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Paul Ryan is helping Trump undermine the rule of law," 27 July 2018 Khloé Kardashian has never been one to hold back with her fans. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Khloé Kardashian Just Cleared Up Rumors That She Got a Nose Job," 23 July 2018 At the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, doctors are trying to hold back the grim tide of overdoses. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "The truth about Lawrence," 14 July 2018 Hollywood Police had to hold back the growing crowd that spilled off the sidewalk onto South Ocean Drive across from the Diplomat. Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Thousands stage protests, marches across South Florida," 30 June 2018 Throughout the ceremony, Ragland was seen trying to hold back tears, particularly while Markle and Prince Harry exchanged vows. Tamara Fuentes, Harper's BAZAAR, "Doria Ragland Is Crying During the Royal Wedding and Now We're Crying," 19 May 2018 Bette Midler has never held back from sharing political topics on her social media accounts, but a recent tweet about First Lady Melania Trump has the iconic performer taking more heat than usual. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Bette Midler Sparks Controversy with Vulgar Melania Trump Tweet," 16 Nov. 2018

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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holdback

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