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


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


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

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

But in some ways Ley 70 and the related right of communities to be consulted on projects that affect them, derived from the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO’s) convention on indigenous peoples, hold back the region’s people. The Economist, "Why Colombia’s Pacific coast is so poor," 29 Aug. 2019 That is, the FDA holds back on approving additional generic versions of a drug for that period. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Big Pharma is using faux generics to keep drug prices high, critics say," 8 Aug. 2019 Atlético held back its first team until the final 35 minutes of play, making nine substitutions in the 55th minute and bringing in captain Koke and stars João Félix and Diego Costa. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "MLS All-Star team falls 3-0 to Atlético Madrid squad powered by young star João Félix," 2 Aug. 2019 In order to save his subjects, the giant king holds back the snow, allowing everyone to escape. Alex Suskind, EW.com, "The twisted story behind the Flaming Lips' psychedelic King's Mouth artwork," 19 July 2019 Regulators traditionally hold back Hollywood film imports to give local Chinese titles an uncontested run at the summer blockbuster season. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "China's Tightening Censorship Is Making a Bad Box Office Year Even Worse," 16 July 2019 Anni Manukyan said at the news conference, holding back tears. Giulia Mcdonnell Nieto Del Rio, latimes.com, "Couple says their embryo was implanted into wrong woman. They had to fight to get their son," 11 July 2019 What about all of those Thailand players holding back tears as the final whistle blew? Aj Willingham, CNN, "What's the proper way to celebrate a 13-0 soccer win? Hmm, let's see ...," 12 June 2019 Though thrilled to know her mother survived, Brianna still holds back from Roger. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 4," 26 Nov. 2018

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

The first known use of holdback was in 1535

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holdback

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recurring in steady succession

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