hold off


Definition of hold off 

transitive verb

1 : to block from an objective : delay

2 : to defer action on : postpone hold off a decision

3 : to fight to a standoff : withstand

intransitive verb

: to defer or temporarily stop doing something

Examples of hold off in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Trade disruption threatens global growth as businesses may hold off on any significant investments or hiring until a resolution is made. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Can the U.S. economy withstand a trade war?," 13 July 2018 But the Mariners couldn't hold off the Athletics, losing a 2–0 lead in the eighth. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Mariners' James Paxton Strikes Out 16 For New MLB Season High," 3 May 2018 In 2011, when the weather last held off for a particularly long time, her investigators discovered more than 1,500 new sites, mostly in the clay lands of eastern England. The Economist, "Dry weather is helping archaeologists discover ancient sites," 12 July 2018 So holding off a bit before going medieval on Heitkamp makes good practical sense, particularly at this early juncture where voters probably aren’t that focused on Senate races anyway. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "North Dakota’s GOP Senate Candidate Complains That Trump Is Being Too Nice to a Democrat," 12 June 2018 Beyond the deadline on his qualifying offer, Walton may face another timing issue, with the Heat possibly to hold off on offering another two-way contract after signing undrafted Michigan forward Duncan Robinson to a two-way contract Tuesday. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Heat's Derrick Walton Jr. facing yet another contract deadline," 11 July 2018 Trey Lyon, a 29-year-old Houstonian in the oil and gas business, held off on buying a Chevy Volt hybrid until the state rolled out the rebate on Wednesday. Chris Tomlinson, Houston Chronicle, "Texas rolls out cash incentives for electric cars," 31 May 2018 Allmendinger used some aggressive blocking over the closing laps to hold off Chase Elliott and Erik Jones to take the final stage, a 10-lap run. Mike Hembree, USA TODAY, "Drivers earn final four spots in Saturday's NASCAR All-Star race," 19 May 2018 Democrats, who had held off signing the petition to make clear this wasn't a purely partisan effort, are likely to begin signing as soon as today. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "The biggest political story no one is talking about," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hold off.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hold off

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hold off

Statistics for hold off

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hold off

The first known use of hold off was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on hold off

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hold off

Comments on hold off

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


to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!