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

The main final holdout during the confirmation hearing was the official committee of unsecured creditors, but Judge Shannon overruled its objection to the plan. Becky Yerak, WSJ, "Applebee’s Franchisee Gets Court Approval of Bankruptcy Plan," 11 Dec. 2018 The newspaper’s analysis found that 40 percent of trial convictions … came over the objections of one or two holdouts. German Lopez, Vox, "Louisiana votes to eliminate Jim Crow jury law with Amendment 2," 7 Nov. 2018 The guest of honor is Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Manhattan Beach, one of the final holdouts the night that the funding plan passed. Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "Gas tax repeal threats drive Jerry Brown to the aid of vulnerable Democrats," 30 May 2018 The lone holdout is Solon, and its new mayor, Eddy Kraus, has no intention of adding one. Peter Krouse, cleveland.com, "Controversial mayor's courts abound in Cuyahoga County: Justice for All," 17 Jan. 2018 To sweeten the deal for any free holdouts, Flickr is also offering a 30 percent discount off of the first year of Flickr Pro through November 30th, which may help ease the sting of losing that free storage space. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Flickr will end 1TB of free storage and limit free users to 1,000 photos," 1 Nov. 2018 We're told that surprisingly few holdouts had to be dealt with, that most did heed warnings to clear out. Fox News, "Kennedy: Kavanaugh is firm that allegation didn't happen," 18 Sep. 2018 The visits could also be substantially increased if holdout states expanded Medicaid. New York Times, "Finally, Some Answers on the Effects of Medicaid Expansion," 2 July 2018 Removing the holdout rule also will mean fewer engines idling on the tracks, which wastes time and fuel, is noisy, and increases air pollution. Phil Diehl, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Work starts on Coaster station improvements," 5 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Abu Sayyaf fighters were among the hundreds of militants who swore allegiance to Islamic State and captured the city of Marawi, about 260 miles northeast of Jolo, in 2017 and held out against the Philippine military for five months. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Philippine Terror Attack Kills at Least 20, Threatens Peace Hopes For Muslim Self-Rule," 27 Jan. 2019 Still holding out for those Freaky Friday and Mean Girls sequels, though. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Lindsay Lohan Said Her "Freaky Friday" Character Would Run for Office in 2020," 2 Jan. 2019 Many are still holding out for the $35,000, 220-mile range (354km) Tesla Model 3. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Hyundai finally gives us a price for the 2019 Kona EV—$29,995," 14 Dec. 2018 Its county seat, Lexington, is a college town, which helps Fayette hold out against its increasingly Republican neighbors. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Fox News Power Rankings: Dem divides emerge," 23 May 2018 The town is one of the last around the capital to hold out against the government. BostonGlobe.com, "Fighters begin leaving Ghouta’s last rebel-held town," 1 Apr. 2018 Texas held out Eric Davis against Oklahoma while the Longhorns conduct their own investigation. David Ginsburg, The Seattle Times, "With hoops under federal probe, fans say business as usual," 24 Feb. 2018 He was held out against Burlington due to knee tenderness. Andrew Gruman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With Katula steering the ship, Waukesha North boys basketball chasing elusive Classic 8 Conference title," 17 Jan. 2018 Then May and June, too, a surprisingly long time for the castle garrison to hold out against the size and resources of the besieging English. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "The Legend of Ludgar the War Wolf, King of the Trebuchets," 1 May 2017

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

19 Feb 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

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