hold off


held off; holding off; holds off

transitive verb

: to block from an objective : delay
: to defer action on : postpone
hold off a decision
: 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 In speech after speech leading up to the vote, Mr. McConnell was adamant that the United States had no choice but to keep supplying Ukraine to hold off Russian invasion, with his appeals increasingly aimed at naysayers as the debate in the Senate intensified. Carl Hulse, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2024 In a back-and-forth final quarter, Winters Mill went up five before holding off Westminster’s final charge. Baltimore Sun Staff, Baltimore Sun, 10 Feb. 2024 One battalion commander in a mechanized brigade fighting in eastern Ukraine said that his unit currently has fewer than 40 infantry troops — the soldiers deployed in front-line trenches who hold off Russian assaults. Anastacia Galouchka, Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2024 There could be some light sprinkles on Thursday and maybe some showers on Friday, but the rain will likely hold off until Saturday, the weather service said in its forecast discussion. Robert A. Cronkleton, Kansas City Star, 1 Feb. 2024 Up 11 to begin the fourth quarter, Santa Teresa held off a Branham rally, emerged with a 70-66 victory and moved into a tie for first place in the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mt. Hamilton Division standings. Joseph Dycus, The Mercury News, 31 Jan. 2024 Just Steel, in his second two-turn star, could not hold off the winner for long, though Lukas is sure to give Justify's son every chance to emulate his Triple Crown-winning sire's success in the 2018 Derby. Bob Wisener, arkansasonline.com, 4 Feb. 2024 Three months later at the Ryder Cup in Rome, Team Europe held off a late fightback from their American rivals to extend their imperious 30-year winning record on home soil. Jack Bantock, CNN, 2 Feb. 2024 James Lick 47, San Jose 43 James Lick enjoyed a rare victory on Tuesday night, with the Comets holding off San Jose for their second win of the season. Joseph Dycus, The Mercury News, 31 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hold off.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near hold off

Cite this Entry

“Hold off.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hold%20off. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

hold off

: to keep away : withstand
held off the attack
: postpone, delay
decided to hold off on the decision
will hold off production for the summer
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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