hold·​up | \ ˈhōld-ˌəp How to pronounce holdup (audio) \

Definition of holdup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : delay
2 : a robbery carried out at gunpoint

hold up

held up; holding up; holds up

Definition of hold up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to rob at gunpoint
3 : to call attention to : single out his work was held up to ridicule hold this up as perfectionThe Times Literary Supplement (London)

intransitive verb

: to continue in the same condition without failing or losing effectiveness or force she's holding up under the strain music that holds up twenty years later

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Examples of holdup in a Sentence

Noun There have been a series of holdups at local banks. a holdup in construction due to the weather Verb held up mail delivery until we had a permanent address traffic was held up for miles by the accident
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Paul's holdup comes amid the backdrop of protests about racial injustice that erupted over the death of George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis who died in police custody. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Anti-lynching bill sparks raw, personal debate between lawmakers opposed to Rand Paul amendment," 4 June 2020 Authorities are trying to identify a suspect in a holdup Tuesday at a Birmingham pharmacy. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Police trying to ID suspect in armed robbery at Birmingham pharmacy," 3 June 2020 Since then, detectives have linked him to five other Portland holdups in January at a hardware store, two video stores, a cell phone store and a convenience store. oregonlive, "Police identify suspect in pharmacy holdup; link him to five other gunpoint robberies," 27 Jan. 2020 And in a reversal, Sondland submitted an addendum to his testimony, also released by Democrats, that acknowledges for the first time that the call for investigations was linked to a holdup in U.S. military assistance. Washington Post, "A ‘refreshed’ memory: Takeaways from Ukraine testimony," 6 Nov. 2019 His charges stem from an April 2019 investigation of a holdup at an Oakland Road convenience store. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Police: Man who confessed to Manchester holdups arrested in South Windsor robbery," 17 July 2019 He is charged in the June 9 holdup at Family Dollar on Tuscaloosa Avenue, as well as robberies at three other Family Dollar stores. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "Man shot by Birmingham police now charged in 4 holdups at Family Dollar stores," 18 June 2019 Police released surveillance camera video showing the 9:30 p.m. holdup at the Shell gasoline station store at 1001 South Tyler Street. Robert Rhoden, nola.com, "2 masked men rob convenience store in Covington: video," 7 June 2019 However, one of the major holdups in the deal is the length. Sportsday Staff, Dallas News, "What they’re saying about Dak Prescott: Joe Theismann advises ‘take the money’; Kirk Cousins says the tag 'can be your friend’," 9 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These extra rugged jeans have a drawstring waist and double fabric on the knees to hold up during lots of active play. Tanya Edwards, CNN Underscored, "The best kids and baby deals at Amazon’s Big Style Sale," 22 June 2020 This organizer has a one year warranty, can hold up to a 13-inch tablet and has pockets for all of your snacks, toys and drinks. Yadi Rodriguez, cleveland, "16 essential supplies for your next road trip," 19 June 2020 Supporters of the president have already started forming a line outside of Tulsa's BOK Center, which can hold up to 20,000 people. Fox News, "Oklahoma gov on Trump rally, reopening during COVID-19: 'We are going to be very safe'," 19 June 2020 Dallas tried to play a bunker composition to hold up in certain blocks and maintain space. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "3 parting thoughts on the Dallas Fuel’s weekend loss to the Florida Mayhem," 16 June 2020 The award-winning local chips have just the right amount of thickness and crunch to hold up to smoked salmon and golden orbs of roe, some chives and black pepper. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, "Make your own spin on fair food with this no-recipe recipe for potato chip ‘pie’," 11 June 2020 Massie also voted against a coronavirus-relief package in April and threatened to hold up the vote on the CARES Act in March, earning him the wrath of President Donald Trump. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Rep. Thomas Massie called out by opponent for displaying Confederate battle flag at home," 10 June 2020 Massie also voted against a coronavirus-relief package in April and threatened to hold up the vote on the CARES Act in March, earning him the wrath of President Donald Trump. Ben Tobin, USA TODAY, "Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie called out by opponent for displaying Confederate battle flag at home," 10 June 2020 The overall cutting surface is huge, but the design unfortunately didn’t hold up; every single blade on all of the heads was broken or bent by the beef ribs. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, "The Best New Broadheads of the Year," 5 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holdup.' 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 holdup


1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1851, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for holdup

Time Traveler

The first known use of holdup was in 1837

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Statistics for holdup

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Holdup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holdup. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for holdup


How to pronounce hold up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of holdup

: a usually brief delay
: a robbery that is done using a gun


hold·​up | \ ˈhōld-ˌəp How to pronounce holdup (audio) \

Kids Definition of holdup

1 : robbery by an armed robber
2 : delay entry 1 Why aren't we moving? What's the holdup?



Legal Definition of holdup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an attempted or completed robbery carried out with the use of force and especially at gunpoint

Legal Definition of hold up (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make the victim of a holdup : rob at gunpoint

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More from Merriam-Webster on holdup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for holdup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holdup

Spanish Central: Translation of holdup

Nglish: Translation of holdup for Spanish Speakers

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