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 Low appraisals, lack of public transit for residents to get to jobs, food or housing insecurity — all these could hold back efforts to create a thriving mortgage market in the city. John Gallagher, Freep.com, "Departing Free Press columnist John Gallagher pens open letter to Detroiters," 19 Dec. 2019 When his time came to speak, Plavchin didn’t hold back. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, "Democrats in districts Trump won in 2016 face little impeachment backlash so far," 3 Oct. 2019 With her three-month-old daughter Roux in her arms on the pitch after the game, Leroux couldn’t hold back tears any longer. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Sydney Leroux plays for Orlando Pride three months after giving birth," 30 Sep. 2019 Last year, a bill asking to hold back third graders who don't read at grade level was quickly gutted before failing. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "Here are 8 Kentucky education trends to watch in the 2020 legislative budget session," 2 Jan. 2020 Without question, the complexity of the problems and the difficulty of coordinating solutions has held back Detroit’s efforts at recovery. John Gallagher, Freep.com, "Departing Free Press columnist John Gallagher pens open letter to Detroiters," 19 Dec. 2019 As the sea kept creeping up the beach, the wall wouldn’t have been able to hold back creeping sand dunes, saltwater seeping into wells, or flooding over the barrier. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "This 7000-year-old wall was the earliest known defense against rising seas. It failed," 18 Dec. 2019 The prolonged uncertainty over Trump's trade policies has curtailed U.S. business investment and likely held back economic growth. Arkansas Online, "Trump says U.S., China have reached deal; Sunday tariffs off," 13 Dec. 2019 And those hi-visibility lines work great for detecting strikes from these aging eyes. Don’t hold back! Jim Gronaw, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Jim Gronaw: An anglers’ Christmas list for the season," 8 Dec. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of holdback was in 1535

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Cite this Entry

“Holdback.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hold%20back. Accessed 24 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on holdback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holdback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdback

Comments on holdback

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a feeling of well-being or elation

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