hold·​back | \ ˈhōl(d)-ˌbak How to pronounce holdback (audio) \

Definition of holdback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that retains or restrains
2a : the act of holding back
b : something held back

hold back

held back; holding back; holds back

Definition of hold back (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to hinder the progress or achievement of : restrain
b : to keep from advancing to the next stage, grade, or level
2 : to refrain from revealing or parting with held back important information

intransitive verb

1 : to keep oneself in check
2 : to refrain from revealing or parting with something

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Examples of holdback in a Sentence

Noun there'll be a holdback on production until the new machinery is fully installed the only holdback to starting the new job is my contractual commitment to my current position Verb the only thing holding Joe back from joining the swim team is lack of transportation held back her tears until she was alone
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Typical issues are: The amount and length of the escrow holdback for indemnification claims. Gary Miller, The Denver Post, "Gary Miller: Negotiation mistakes that will kill a business sale — a case study," 27 Oct. 2019 The Connecticut Department of Education sent Canterbury town officials a letter saying that the additional holdback of $250,000 would incur a $500,000 Education Cost Sharing penalty. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Canterbury Boards Battle Over Roof Replacement, Education Budget," 3 Apr. 2018 Legislation is being discussed to do away with the penalty associated with cuts made after holdbacks were announced. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Canterbury Boards Battle Over Roof Replacement, Education Budget," 3 Apr. 2018 Negotiators from the House had agreed near the end of the regular session to lower the holdback to $100 million. Lsu Manship School News Service, NOLA.com, "An LSU student's analysis of the Legislature's budget impasse," 13 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Exports have dropped in products such as cars and machinery as overseas consumers hold back on buying. Washington Post, "Japanese manufacturers’ sentiments at low unseen since 2009," 1 July 2020 Disasters like Hurricane Katrina were tragic not only because of the failure of the levees to hold back the water, but also because of the inequalities that prevented people from evacuating and rebuilding. Popular Science, "Healthy ecosystems are nature’s barrier to hurricane damage," 26 June 2020 The 12-foot-wide path squeezes for a third of a mile between roaring traffic on the Interstate-90 Memorial Shoreway and sharp rocks piled at the water’s edge to hold back Lake Erie. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cleveland Metroparks explores using recycled river sediment to make lakefront greener, more resilient," 23 June 2020 Women have lost jobs at a steeper rate than men during the coronavirus pandemic, a factor that is likely to hold back the economic recovery. Sarah Chaney, WSJ, "Women’s Job Losses From Pandemic Aren’t Good for Economic Recovery," 21 June 2020 That's in no small part due to the spectacle welcoming not only a handful of Kentucky politicos and office-seekers but also throngs of supporters and critics who do not hold back in cheering or jeering during the speeches. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky's annual political picnic is on, but Fancy Farm 2020 will look a bit different," 18 June 2020 In newsrooms across the country, journalists now hold back on stories or subtly soften their critiques, fearful of the president’s wrath. Sheila Coronel, The Atlantic, "Democracy Dies by a Thousand Cuts," 16 June 2020 But the company does not plan to hold back entirely on shutting down parts of its grid. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "PG&E braces for a hard fire season — and blackouts — amid coronavirus," 13 June 2020 As customers elsewhere stay home and hold back on luxury shopping in favor of essential purchases or cheaper, unbranded goods, sales of personal luxury items — including handbags, shoes and clothing — are still expected to take a huge hit. Michelle Toh, CNN, "Chinese shoppers are giving luxury brands some hope," 11 June 2020

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


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1535, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for holdback

Time Traveler

The first known use of holdback was in 1535

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Cite this Entry

“Holdback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holdback. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdback

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