hold·​up | \ ˈhōld-ˌəp How to pronounce holdup (audio) \

Definition of holdup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : delay
2 : a robbery carried out at gunpoint

hold up

held up; holding up; holds up

Definition of hold up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to rob at gunpoint
3 : to call attention to : single out his work was held up to ridicule hold this up as perfectionThe Times Literary Supplement (London)

intransitive verb

: to continue in the same condition without failing or losing effectiveness or force she's holding up under the strain music that holds up twenty years later

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Examples of holdup in a Sentence

Noun There have been a series of holdups at local banks. a holdup in construction due to the weather Verb held up mail delivery until we had a permanent address traffic was held up for miles by the accident
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, one of the major holdups in the deal is the length. Sportsday Staff, Dallas News, "What they’re saying about Dak Prescott: Joe Theismann advises ‘take the money’; Kirk Cousins says the tag 'can be your friend’," 9 May 2020 That may very well be true—and Biogen execs are claiming this is just a temporary holdup that’s in part due to challenges provided by the coronavirus pandemic. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "The 3-pronged approach to defeating the coronavirus," 23 Apr. 2020 The coronavirus pandemic has prohibited NFL teams from conducting their own physicals, and the logistics of Joseph’s exam had been the holdup in completing the deal, Browns GM Andrew Berry said on Friday. cleveland, "Browns sign Karl Joseph to his one-year contract worth $2.5 million despite not having his surgically-repaired foot checked out yet," 13 Apr. 2020 What did Trump officials tell OMB about the holdup of the aid? Vera Bergengruen, Time, "Senators Defeat Vote to Allow New Evidence in Trump's Impeachment Trial. Now These Questions Will Go Unanswered," 31 Jan. 2020 He and a 25-year-old man are expected to be charged with robbery in connection with the holdup that led to the shooting. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Fundraisers set for Birmingham police officer shot while working church security," 28 Jan. 2020 We’re right there for elephant hunts and government holdups. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "'When Lambs Become Lions' Explores a Violent Trade," 11 Jan. 2020 The holdup has continued past Congress’s deadline last fall for more than $8 billion of the aid to be officially announced. Erica Werner, BostonGlobe.com, "Now hit by earthquakes, Puerto Rico is still waiting on billions for hurricane relief," 9 Jan. 2020 The two holdup men are also wanted for three other early-morning robberies in Manassas and Woodbridge that took place in the past week at a bowling alley, a motel and a drug store in the past week, WJLA reported. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Virginia police seeks 2 crooks after Denny's robbery that left DoorDash driver dead," 28 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb President Trump threatened to hold up federal funding to both Michigan and Nevada for taking steps to expand mail-in voting. Chris Sikich, The Indianapolis Star, "Unprecedented half a million Hoosiers to vote by mail," 22 May 2020 On any day before March, the chairs would be holding up babies, arms flailing or clutching bouquets of french fries, in the middle of a clamoring restaurant. Nick Rallo, Dallas News, "‘We can make it make sense’: Historic Dallas restaurant family plans to open dining rooms at 50 percent capacity," 20 May 2020 Fallon held up cards to the camera with the name of which impression to do next. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Watch Seth MacFarlane cover Michael Bublé as Family Guy, American Dad characters," 12 May 2020 With the car’s windows up, each driver stops in front of the vendor of their choice and holds up a paper with their customer account name to the passenger side window. Brianna Baker, Smithsonian Magazine, "How a New Jersey Farmers Market Went Virtual," 2 May 2020 Her grandmother died days later, at 5:28 a.m. on her 88th birthday, with a hospital staffer at her bedside to hold up a phone for family members to say goodbye. NBC News, "Coronavirus robbing grandparents of precious time with families," 30 Apr. 2020 Some of the bystanders wore masks against the coronavirus and others held up phones to record the crush of law enforcement vehicles at the site. CBS News, "1 officer killed in Louisiana shooting; 2nd officer hospitalized," 27 Apr. 2020 Congressional debates over the relief bill were held up by several sticking points, one of which was whether Planned Parenthood would be eligible for federal money under the legislation. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 2 Apr. 2020 Over the course of their 10-minute chat, Miley would hold up photos from Hannah Montana as a way of sparking memories and conversations about her time spent with Emily working on the Disney Channel series. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Miley Cyrus and Emily Osment Had a “Hannah Montana” Reunion," 24 Mar. 2020

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


1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1851, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for holdup

Time Traveler

The first known use of holdup was in 1837

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Statistics for holdup

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Holdup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holdup. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for holdup


How to pronounce hold up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of holdup

: a usually brief delay
: a robbery that is done using a gun


hold·​up | \ ˈhōld-ˌəp How to pronounce holdup (audio) \

Kids Definition of holdup

1 : robbery by an armed robber
2 : delay entry 1 Why aren't we moving? What's the holdup?



Legal Definition of holdup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an attempted or completed robbery carried out with the use of force and especially at gunpoint

Legal Definition of hold up (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make the victim of a holdup : rob at gunpoint

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More from Merriam-Webster on holdup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holdup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdup

Spanish Central: Translation of holdup

Nglish: Translation of holdup for Spanish Speakers

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