hold·​out | \ˈhōld-ˌau̇t \

Definition of holdout 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: one that holds out (as in negotiations) also : an instance of holding out

hold 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

Gallup was the only holdout, largely because of the league-wide log jam with contracts of third-round picks being a little trickier to negotiate. Clarence E. Hill Jr., star-telegram, "Cowboys sign rookie WR Michael Gallup, putting draft class in the fold before OTAs | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 21 May 2018 California was a lone holdout and the Justice Department didn’t seriously challenge its position until the arrival of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Washington Post, "California, long a holdout, adopts mass immigration hearings," 8 July 2018 However, there are three Democratic holdouts on the petition: Reps. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Republican moderates are close to forcing an immigration fight in the House," 29 May 2018 He's been angling for his payday since last year, when his training camp holdout caused him to miss the regular-season opener. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Who will be NFL's first $20 million defender? Rams' Aaron Donald, Raiders' Khalil Mack best bets," 9 May 2018 The vote to defer was 8 to 1, with commission member Geoffrey Griffis the holdout. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "Plans for new Zoo fence and entrance put on hold," 12 July 2018 But given that that’s not something that could be done anytime soon, tags are not really relevant to Thomas’ holdout now. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks safety Earl Thomas holdout FAQ," 10 June 2018 Many brands in the U.S. remain Amazon holdouts and choose to sell their apparel on fashion specialists such as Yoox Net-a-Porter SpA, Farfetch and Lyst. Laura Stevens, WSJ, "Amazon Is Taking Over the World? Not in Europe," 30 Apr. 2018 On a purely tactical level, the use of chemical weapons to kill and force out hundreds of holdout civilians in Douma seems to have made no sense. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "What do the US, UK and French airstrikes mean for Syria's war?," 15 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One hospital was still holding out when the plan launched in July 2016, with the state initially offering to pay travel expenses for workers to get to alternative hospitals, Ms. Jenks said. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "North Carolina Faces Hospital Fight Trying New Tack to Set Health-Care Payments," 4 Nov. 2018 The All-Pro running back is still holding out over a bitter contract dispute, causing some animosity among his teammates. Rob Maaddi, The Seattle Times, "Week 1 ICYMI: No loss for Browns, but no win either," 10 Sep. 2018 The family is holding out for one more option, from Say Yes of Guilford County. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "15-Year-Old Who Graduated High School With a 4.5 GPA May Not Be Able to Go to College After He’s Turned Down for Scholarships," 29 June 2018 Noah Properties is holding out the possibility of a conversion to condominiums in the future. Staff Report, chicagotribune.com, "Two Elmwood Park residential projects receive green light from village board," 18 June 2018 Ecuador is holding out hope that three journalists taken hostage along the Colombian border are still alive, even after grisly pictures emerged that appeared to show they had been executed. Jim Wyss, miamiherald, "Ecuador hostages feared dead as government threatens military action | Miami Herald," 13 Apr. 2018 The team is holding out hope Myers, who missed Saturday’s game with back tightness, responds to rest and treatment. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Wil Myers, Austin Hedges remain sidelined for Padres," 3 Apr. 2018 Katie Holmes is still holding out for the Easter Bunny. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Just a Bunch of Celebrities Celebrating Easter and Passover," 1 Apr. 2018 The Cowboys are still holding out hope for a contract extension for guard Zack Martin. Clarence E. Hill Jr., star-telegram, "Cowboys quickly go from none to five to likely done in free agency | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 26 Mar. 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

12 Nov 2018

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

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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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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