hold·​out | \ ˈhōld-ˌau̇t How to pronounce holdout (audio) \

Definition of holdout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one that holds out (as in negotiations) also : an instance of holding out

hold out

held out; holding out; holds out

Definition of hold out (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to remain unsubdued or unyielding where 30 of the … refugees were still holding out— Anna Tomforde also : to continue to function or be available : last prayed that the engine would hold out as long as our money holds out
2 : to refuse to go along with others in a concerted action or to come to an agreement holding out for a shorter workweek

transitive verb

1 : to present as something realizable : proffer
2 : to represent to be
hold out on
: to withhold something (such as information) from

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Synonyms & Antonyms for holdout

Synonyms: Verb

hold up, keep up, last, prevail, survive

Antonyms: Verb

fail, fizzle, give out, go out, peter (out), run out

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Examples of holdout in a Sentence


He says he might be a holdout at the start of the next season if the team doesn't agree to pay him more. He is expected to end his three-week holdout and join the team tomorrow. A few holdouts still use typewriters, but nearly everybody uses computers now.


we hoped our supply of firewood would hold out until power was restored luckily, the old outboard motor held out till we made it to shore
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The holdout running back has plummeted out of first-round consideration because of the risk that the Chargers are willing to get by with the Austin Ekeler-Justin Jackson tandem rather than paying through the nose for their star back. Kevin Cusick, Twin Cities, "The Loop Fantasy Football Preview: The Overrated," 16 Aug. 2019 His son, Matt Salinger, said the digital holdout ended because many readers use e-books exclusively and some people with disabilities can use only them. BostonGlobe.com, "Stories you may have missed from the world of business," 12 Aug. 2019 His son, Matt Salinger, said the digital holdout ended because many readers use e-books exclusively and some people with disabilities can use only them. SFChronicle.com, "Verizon selling Tumblr; J.D. Salinger books finally go digital," 12 Aug. 2019 Lately, local authorities have been stepping up their patrols to protect these last holdouts from poachers. National Geographic, "Elephant skin sales rapidly mounting," 12 Aug. 2019 But with a number of progressive groups vowing to spend the summer recess exerting pressure on the impeachment holdouts in their home districts, the dilemma facing the Speaker could be even more acute when Congress reassembles for the fall session. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Where Do Trump and the Democrats Stand as the Summer Recess Arrives?," 3 Aug. 2019 With half the House Democrats now in favor of beginning an inquiry, the pressure will only mount on the holdouts during the August recess. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Impeachment summer? August town halls may decide next steps," 2 Aug. 2019 Gordon would never know if the Chargers truly valued him without first staging the holdout. Conor Orr, SI.com, "Why Melvin Gordon Faces an Uphill Climb to Get the Contract He Wants," 12 July 2019 Usually these last holdouts stay three or four more hours after dessert. Ask Amy, oregonlive.com, "Ask Amy: Son’s drunken brawl leads to smaller allowance, silent treatment," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Oh, and left tackle Trent Williams is holding out, making a makeshift line even more makeshift. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde5: Here’s why Dolphins’ shot at No. 1 pick has taken some hits," 13 Aug. 2019 Instead, the Dane is reportedly holding out for a move to Spain. SI.com, "Deadline Day: Why Tottenham's Business Makes Them Premier League Title Contenders," 9 Aug. 2019 The fifth-year running back and two-time Pro Bowl selection is holding out for a new contract. Andrew Turner, Daily Pilot, "Chargers host Rams in joint practice," 1 Aug. 2019 Leifer, for his part, is holding out for something new. Wired, "A New Quantum Paradox Flags Errors in Our View of Reality," 9 Dec. 2018 At that time, only the U.S. Open and the Australian Open offered equal prize money for men and women; Wimbledon and the French Open were still holding out. Sean Gregory, Time, "Venus Williams Is Still in the Game—On and Off the Court," 21 June 2018 USA TODAY Sports' Jori Epstein discusses with Ezekiel Elliot holding out, which Cowboys running backs have an opportunity to step up in his absence. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Ezekiel Elliott: Don't need 'rushing champion to win a Super Bowl'," 30 July 2019 Kicker Robbie Gould expressed gratitude for working out a four-year contract with the 49ers after holding out from the offseason program. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "49ers Garoppolo will ease into camp, McKinnon starts on PUP," 26 July 2019 After holding out for a big payday, Saban and his partners now are eager to sell the company — even at a discount, according to three people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment publicly. Meg James, latimes.com, "Univision owners want to sell. After 12 years and $13 billion, what went wrong?," 15 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holdout.' 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 holdout


1908, in the meaning defined above


circa 1556, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Statistics for holdout

Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for holdout

The first known use of holdout was circa 1556

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More Definitions for holdout



English Language Learners Definition of holdout

: a person who refuses to reach an agreement until certain terms are met : a person who holds out
: an act of holding out for something
: a person who continues to do or use something after others have stopped doing or using it

More from Merriam-Webster on holdout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdout

Comments on holdout

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


not constant or steady

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