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 last holdout in San Diego County, Santee will join the 17 other cities and the county in prohibiting tobacco use in parks. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Smoking banned in Santee parks," 2 July 2019 Ever the tactile politician, Mr. Biden seemed to relish finding the holdouts in an audience and trying to flip them. Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, "Biden’s First Run for President Was a Calamity. Some Missteps Still Resonate.," 3 June 2019 The last holdouts surrendered in 2016 and the government depopulated the town, once home to 300,000 people, thereafter. Philip Issa, Fox News, "In Syria, civil registers disclose hundreds of prison deaths," 3 Aug. 2018 Alabama remains the sole holdout; its portion of the cost would come to around $2.7 million. al.com, "Rail advocates contend new Gulf Coast Amtrak service isn’t the Sunset Limited," 11 June 2019 The holdouts in this fragile antislavery moment were the Deep South states, principally Georgia and South Carolina. Nicholas Guyatt, The New York Review of Books, "How Proslavery Was the Constitution?," 6 June 2019 Add Mr Kenney’s Alberta, plus the original two holdouts, and that makes five provinces out of ten now opposed to Mr Trudeau’s plans. The Economist, "Justin Trudeau is trapped between eco-warriors and gas-guzzlers," 8 June 2019 The last holdout when the building went co-op, Ariane is why the staircase hasn’t been replaced. David Canfield, EW.com, "Exclusive: The author of A Simple Favor is back with another juicy thriller," 5 June 2019 The sole holdout was Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who earlier this month cited the company's lack of experience. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Las Vegas Is Getting a Loop from Elon Musk," 23 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Leicester holding out for more, but may sell for between £85m and £90m, with United more likely to go higher. SI.com, "Harry Maguire: The Latest on Leicester's Rejection of Man Utd Bid & Man City's Interest," 2 July 2019 Carli Lloyd stopped to sign a soccer boot one boy held out to her and the T-shirt of another. Alicia Delgallo, Pro Soccer USA, "USWNT shifts World Cup focus from preparing to performing," 9 June 2019 Squat down, holding out your empty arm straight in front of you, and rise back up. NBC News, "Train like an athlete: 5 postpartum exercises the Lamoureux twins love," 7 June 2019 And hey, for those holding out for a Steam release next year? The DLC will probably be there the same day as the core game. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: World of Warcraft Classic enters beta, another new Vampire: The Masquerade game," 17 May 2019 Parents can hold out from giving their children phones as long as possible, said Mr. Steyer. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "How 13 Became the Internet’s Age of Adulthood," 18 June 2019 Coach Jill Ellis made some lineup moves for the match in the absence of defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who the team said was held out as a precaution with a minor quad injury. Anne M. Peterson, Anchorage Daily News, "US women open World Cup defense with record-setting 13-0 rout of Thailand," 11 June 2019 Coach Jill Ellis made some lineup moves for the match in the absence of defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who the team said was held out as a precaution with a minor quad injury. Anne M. Peterson, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s Mallory Pugh, Lindsay Horan score in U.S. women’s national team’s rout of Thailand in FIFA Women’s World Cup," 11 June 2019 Coach Jill Ellis made some lineup moves for the match in the absence of defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who the team said was held out as a precaution with a minor quad injury. Anne M. Peterson, chicagotribune.com, "Alex Morgan ties World Cup mark with 5 goals as the U.S. blows out Thailand for record-setting 13-0 win," 11 June 2019

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

9 Jul 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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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