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 next person to enter was a man in his fifties with thick glasses, one of the holdouts from the neighboring housing project. Ben Austen, The New Republic, "How one American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality," 21 June 2018 Some think the current population represents a lineage of holdouts that went undetected. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "Eradication of invasive rodent off to a slow start in California," 12 May 2018 Almost every major car company now allows Apple’s and Google’s own respective in-car infotainment systems to work alongside their own stock software; even major holdouts like Toyota have acquiesced. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Amazon’s Echo Auto is another quick fix for the broken state of in-car infotainment," 21 Sep. 2018 Pruitt was a vocal supporter of Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions; with Syria having joined the accords this past fall, the U.S. is the world’s lone holdout. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "How the EPA's Scott Pruitt Became the Most Dangerous Member of Trump’s Cabinet," 8 Feb. 2018 The vote was close, and was held open longer than expected at a 58-to-38 split while the holdouts fell under heavy lobbying by their colleagues. Charlie Savage, New York Times, "Senate, Rebuffing Privacy Concerns, Clears Path to Extend Surveillance Law," 16 Jan. 2018 And while Manafort’s team managed to get one holdout juror to vote against conviction on 10 counts — Mueller won a unanimous conviction on eight others. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Mueller says Manafort breached plea agreement by lying “on a variety of subject matters”," 27 Nov. 2018 The holdout hospital agreed to join a few weeks later. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "North Carolina Faces Hospital Fight Trying New Tack to Set Health-Care Payments," 4 Nov. 2018 The handful of holdout homeowners all are on the perimeter. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Foxconn-area residents angry over plans to take their homes," 21 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Meet the team that has allowed the Trump White House to hold out for so long, and in the process forever altered future shutdown fights. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Trump’s New Shutdown World," 10 Jan. 2019 To hold out for the second half of the season, only to test the underwhelming trade market again this winter, is a risky proposition. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers might be wise to trade Michael Fulmer. Here's why," 3 July 2018 And when that last decision is made, how will the losers of the debate be persuaded to stay in the coalition instead of holding out for a better alternative? Julia Azari, Vox, "How “abolish ICE” illustrates the importance of party politics," 2 July 2018 About 16% of the kids held out for just 30 seconds or less before snarfing the treat, and about 38% held out for 10 minutes. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "The surprising thing the 'marshmallow test' reveals about kids in an instant-gratification world," 26 June 2018 To hold out longer would have carried particular risks for the ten Democratic senators up for re-election in states that Mr Trump won in 2016. The Economist, "Washington interruptusThe brief government shutdown could presage...another government shutdown," 25 Jan. 2018 Many of the people who contributed to the report are prominent scholars with a deep affection for China who held out hope that its government would liberalize. Kate O’keeffe, WSJ, "Scholars Warn of Chinese Influence Operations in U.S.," 28 Nov. 2018 Photo Illustration: Laura Kammermann MOSCOW—A top Russian state television broadcaster held out the possibility of a nuclear exchange with the U.S., boasting that the Kremlin could retaliate with strikes on the Pentagon and Camp David. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Russia Names U.S. Targets of Nuclear Retaliation," 25 Feb. 2019 That means that consumers shouldn’t hold out for their very own MakerBot printer anytime soon. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "MakerBot’s new 3D printer shows how much it’s changed in nine years," 11 Dec. 2018

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

14 May 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).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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