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

Still, holdouts remain — people who believe the 140 percent of market value the village has offered is unfair when owners of larger tracts of farmland were paid several times the pre-Foxconn price such property was bringing. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Village of Mount Pleasant declares Foxconn area as blighted, may use eminent domain to take properties," 5 June 2018 Still, some holdouts appeared to be hellbent on staying put. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Three stranded in Kilauea lava zone are airlifted; cops cite 7 others for loitering near lava," 3 June 2018 Meanwhile, the name of the holdout juror was leaked to the public, and the woman had to get police protection from harassment. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "Arizona Appeals Court rules against Jodi Arias' request for court secrecy," 30 May 2018 For now, the Saints have no plans to give Ingram a new contract before the season even with his holdout. Josh Katzenstein, NOLA.com, "Mark Ingram planning to attend minicamp, Sean Payton says," 24 May 2018 From strong-safety revolutionary, to emotional leader to head-scratching holdout, his legacy isn’t necessarily a simple one. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "Kam Chancellor’s legacy with Seahawks will be one of intimidation, big hits," 1 July 2018 In Yosemite, Tamarack Flat, White Wolf and Tuolumne Meadows are expected to open by mid-June, and the last holdouts, Yosemite Creek, Porcupine Flat and Bridalveil Creek, likely before July 4. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Summer arrives: Light the fuse and stand back," 31 May 2018 But as is now clear, the GOP has been consolidating its support of Trump ever since then, despite the massive over-representation of #NeverTrump holdouts (like Murphy) in the national political news media. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "A High Enough Democratic Wave Could Leave Trump Vulnerable to a Primary Challenge," 29 Mar. 2018 Off the ice, however, his Detroit career was tarnished by a contract holdout and his decision to play for the Anaheim Ducks for less money in Southern California. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Should Detroit Red Wings retire Sergei Fedorov's No. 91? It's time.," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Don’t hold out hope, don’t check in on her, don’t keep tabs. Grace Gavilanes, ajc, "Real people whose exes moved on really quickly share their side of the story," 13 July 2018 According to Hu Jia, the brother should not hold out hope of obtaining his own one-way air ticket. The Economist, "China frees the widow of a Nobel peace-prize winner," 11 July 2018 Yet somehow, Croatia not merely held out, but had become the dominant side even before Kieran Trippier was forced off by injury to leave England with 10 men for the final minutes. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Croatia's Character, Resiliency on Full Display in Shocking Run to World Cup Final," 11 July 2018 Don’t hold out hope, don’t check in on her, don’t keep tabs. Grace Gavilanes, PEOPLE.com, "Real People Whose Exes Moved on Really Quickly Share Their Side of the Story," 11 July 2018 Even as the community of 29,000 along the Mississippi River sees better days, though, some residents and business owners hold out hope that the city will find another economic engine by which to define itself. Samantha Bomkamp, latimes.com, "In this small steel town, Trump's tariffs have been met with a sigh of relief," 9 July 2018 Xi’s government has expressed confidence China can hold out against U.S. pressure, but companies and investors are uneasy. Joe Mcdonald, USA TODAY, "China rejects ‘threats and blackmail’ on eve of US tariff hike," 5 July 2018 For Assad, the Deraa campaign holds out the prospect of reopening the Nassib crossing with Jordan, a vital trade artery. NBC News, "U.N. urges Jordan to open border as 320,000 flee while Russian jets hit southern Syria," 5 July 2018 Lia Brisson held out her arms as wide as her 4-year-old body would let her. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "New splash pad a cool hit in Sterling Heights as heat wave rolls in," 28 June 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

17 Sep 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).


a magnificent or impressive array

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