place·​hold·​er | \ ˈplās-ˌhōl-dər \

Definition of placeholder

: a symbol in a mathematical or logical expression that may be replaced by the name of any element of a set

Examples of placeholder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Last year's October update introduced a new feature for OneDrive: placeholders to represent files that were stored in OneDrive, but not downloaded locally. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft’s problem isn’t how often it updates Windows—it’s how it develops it," 20 Oct. 2018 Although impressive, Summit can be seen as a placeholder. Steve Lohr, New York Times, "Move Over, China: U.S. Is Again Home to World’s Speediest Supercomputer," 8 June 2018 Look, somebody, Beto to me is placeholder for now of the total outsider that could come in and capture the imagination. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: NBC journalists Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Hallie Jackson on Recode Decode," 5 Dec. 2018 Since the Tide is only a placeholder — a meeting is planned to select a permanent name — how much effort does the company put into building that brand? Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, "Four Barrel rushes to rebrand, scraping tainted name off windows," 11 Jan. 2018 OneDrive beta testers will be able to get access to the feature today, which lets OneDrive users use placeholders for files instead of syncing entire folders onto a MacBook. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Microsoft brings OneDrive Files On-Demand to the Mac," 24 Sep. 2018 With placeholders, the local OneDrive directory appears to contain the full directory structure and all the files that are found in the cloud. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Windows 10 will use the cloud to free up disk space," 11 Sep. 2018 In the hands of most pianists, that middle section is merely a meandering placeholder, a respite between two colossal moments of musical brilliance. Will Friedwald, WSJ, "‘A Rhapsody in Blue: The Extraordinary Life of Oscar Levant’ Review," 21 Aug. 2018 There are no superstars yet, just mercurial young players and a bunch of placeholder veterans. Andrew Sharp,, "Long Live the Lean Years of the Interim Lakers," 16 Mar. 2018

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

1928, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Feb 2019

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The first known use of placeholder was in 1928

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More Definitions for placeholder


place·​hold·​er | \ ˈplās-ˌhōl-dər \

Kids Definition of placeholder

: a symbol (as x, Δ, *) used in mathematics in the place of a numeral

More from Merriam-Webster on placeholder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with placeholder

Britannica English: Translation of placeholder for Arabic Speakers

Comments on placeholder

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excited commotion or publicity

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