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 entry 1 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

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of holdout in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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 Separately House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that the Fed facilities item is the only holdout issue now between the two sides. Bloomberg.com, "Relief Deal Near as Lawmakers End Fed Impasse: Congress Update," 19 Dec. 2020 In 2018, Walker, another early Trump holdout who became a vocal supporter, suffered a drop in support in the Milwaukee suburbs, his home turf, and ultimately lost his reëlection bid. Elisabeth Zerofsky, The New Yorker, "Will Trump’s “Law and Order” Message Work in Wisconsin?," 24 Oct. 2020 By 1955, Marshall, who saw radio broadcasts of his team’s games as a means of courting revenue from white Southern audiences, was the only holdout in the league. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "When Your Hometown Team Gets a New Identity," 26 Nov. 2020 After China joined a couple months back, the U.S. became the only major holdout. David Meyer, Fortune, "Vaccines, tech and climate: Europe pitches a new partnership to President-elect Biden," 2 Dec. 2020 Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial and San Bernardino counties all voted in favor, with Orange County as the lone holdout in the southernmost part of the state, with 49.6% in favor and 50.4% against. Kellie Hwang, SFChronicle.com, "How the Bay Area voted on key races vs. the rest of California," 4 Nov. 2020 Now that Murkowski has expressed her intent to vote for Barrett, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine appears to be the only Republican holdout. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Lisa Murkowski to vote yes on Amy Coney Barrett nomination," 24 Oct. 2020 Three coaches turned quick, with Kelly Clarkson the only holdout. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Contestant Sid Kingsley Brings ‘Power’ and ‘Soul’ to ‘The Voice’ Blind Auditions: Watch," 20 Oct. 2020 The main holdout was the Maritime Administration, which was not brought into the fold until 1981. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Alan S. Boyd, Nation’s First Transportation Chief, Dies at 98," 19 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The trial data offer the first solid evidence for a technology whose potential has excited researchers for years, and hold out great promise for the fight against other diseases. TheWeek, "The vaccine breakthrough," 29 Nov. 2020 Many hope the region can hold out for a little longer, at least until vaccines are available in sufficient quantities to inoculate the continent. Aryn Baker, Time, "Why Africa's COVID-19 Outbreak Hasn't Been as Bad as Everyone Feared," 30 Dec. 2020 As long as temperatures are warm enough and there is sufficient soil moisture, those trees will hold out before bursting into their charismatic explosion of fall color. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Climate change is affecting fall foliage, but not in the way you think," 30 Nov. 2020 How long this attitude will hold out is a sober question. Kurt Vonnegut, The New Yorker, "Letters to Woofy," 23 Nov. 2020 As crisis lingers, firms make cuts Businesses that had evaded job cuts can no longer hold out. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "'It's certainly going to get worse': Businesses plan more layoffs, hiring freezes in 2020 as COVID-19 escalates," 2 Nov. 2020 The deal was only passed on Friday morning after Poland, the last hold out, received further assurances of funding for the energy transition. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "Europe goes all in on its net-zero pledge, backing tough new emissions targets —but not without a fight," 11 Dec. 2020 While some hold out hope that effective vaccines will lead to a return to some semblance of normalcy, there’s little doubt many changes are here to stay. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, "Shaken studios. Empty theaters. What Hollywood lost during the pandemic," 9 Dec. 2020 Most disturbingly, Trump has seemed to hold out the possibility of commutations and pardons to associates in order to protect himself against snitching. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "The Dangerous Possibilities of Trump’s Pardon Power," 3 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for holdout

Time Traveler

The first known use of holdout was circa 1556

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Statistics for holdout

Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Holdout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holdout. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for holdout


How to pronounce hold out (audio)

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

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