: to stop (someone) from doing something
Once he starts talking, there's no holding him back.
: to not allow (something) to be seen or known by someone
He was unable to hold back his tears. The government held back some crucial information from the media. I know you're angry, so don't hold anything back (from me).
: to keep (something)
He held several thousand dollars back in case of an emergency.
: to delay (something)
The company held back the first shipment of the new product until it was completely ready.
: to stop (someone or something) from moving forward : to stop (someone or something) from advancing to the next level, grade, or stage
She might have been more successful, but bad health held her back. He was held back in first grade.
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