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
2 : delay, impede
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 The holdup was due to the Social Security Administration, which only provided the payment data for 30 million beneficiaries to the IRS on Thursday — or two weeks after Mr. Biden signed the relief bill. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Stimulus check: IRS says Social Security recipients should get checks on April 7," 2 Apr. 2021 The holdup is also an excellent opportunity to practice poses for your first post-vaccine selfie. Leanza Abucayan, CNN, "How to cure your boredom while waiting in line for the Covid-19 vaccine," 27 Mar. 2021 My one holdup with Denver is Jamal Murray, a player that’s obviously explosive enough to carry them from stretches, but one that’s inconsistent enough to disappear for a half. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "Lakers newsletter: Let’s get real, the Lakers are about to lose a lot of games," 31 Mar. 2021 That data was transmitted last Thursday after lawmakers questioned the holdup, clearing the way for the payments though timing isn’t known. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Stimulus update: When will Social Security recipients, veterans receive $1,400 payments?," 29 Mar. 2021 While horns blared in celebration of the Ever Given finally being dislodged from the Suez Canal, the fallout from the holdup is growing. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Ever Given fallout threatens shipping even after dislodging," 29 Mar. 2021 Idalou, Texas, Police Chief Eric C. Williams has said that Harris appeared to be mentally disturbed and called the holdup a dangerous situation. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Arizona man faces federal charge after Texas holdup of National Guard with vaccines," 27 Mar. 2021 The only holdup would be the Magic’s willingness to actually do the thing. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Triple take: Spurs 104, Magic 77," 12 Mar. 2021 Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit suing officials at the U.S. Commerce Department and the Census Bureau for delaying the release of the 2020 data needed to redraw districts, citing the holdup as unconstitutional. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Late census data puts House 2022 campaigns in limbo," 8 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There will be 13 prospects on hand to walk across the stage, embrace Goodell, and hold up their new jerseys. BostonGlobe.com, "Everything you need to know about this year’s NFL Draft," 24 Apr. 2021 However, in our experience, the comfort level of Amazon’s initial offering was lacking and didn’t hold up to all-day wear — the large size was especially uncomfortable for people with smaller ears. Josh Horton, chicagotribune.com, "Amazon announces new version of Echo Buds," 17 Apr. 2021 The handsome, minimalist tools are tipped with carbide, which rivals diamonds in hardness and will hold up to years of clinking ammonites out of shoreline sedimentary rock. Jana Meisenholder, WSJ, "Why Fossil Hunting Is the Next Big Hobby—Seriously," 24 Mar. 2021 Made of a rot-resistant cedar finish, this playground is perfect for up to 8 kids and can hold up to 1200lb. Samantha De Leon, Chron, "Affordable backyard playsets to keep your kids busy for hours," 15 Mar. 2021 Antitrust and competition laws can be a tricky issue as there are many regulators in many jurisdictions globally, and any one of them can hold up the show. David Yu, Forbes, "Aviation Will See More M&A And Consolidation, Especially Aircraft Leasing," 12 Mar. 2021 With a wingspan of 164 feet, the full-scale Phoenix FS will have a crew of two and hold up to 22 pounds of liquid hydrogen for an expected range of 1,243 miles and flight time of up to 10 hours. Daniel Bachmann, Robb Report, "Dutch Students Just Unveiled the World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft," 8 Mar. 2021 Doncic is also a streaky shooter, so his percentages might not hold up as the season goes on. New York Times, "The 7 N.B.A. All-Stars Who Would Be King (or Just M.V.P.)," 26 Feb. 2021 The desk has a height range of 25.5 to 51.1 inches, and can hold up to 335 pounds. Hanna Horvath, NBC News, "8 best standing desks of 2021, according to experts," 24 Feb. 2021

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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Statistics for holdup

Last Updated

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Holdup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holdup. Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for holdup



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

hold up

transitive verb

Legal Definition of hold up (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on holdup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holdup

Nglish: Translation of holdup for Spanish Speakers

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