place·​hold·​er | \ ˈplās-ˌhōl-dər How to pronounce placeholder (audio) \
plural placeholders

Definition of placeholder

1 : a person or thing that occupies the position or place of another person or thing The bill would empower the governor to appoint a placeholder to a vacant U.S. Senate seat, to serve through the next general election cycle.— John Sharp The result was that the legislation represented little more than a placeholder to put the budget before a conference committee …— Carl Ingram
2 : a symbol in a mathematical or logical expression that may be replaced by the name of any element of a set
3 American football : a player who places and holds the ball upright on the ground for placekicking of a field goal

Examples of placeholder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web However, her pick could just be a placeholder until the next DA election, depending on the results of a June 7 ballot measure. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 May 2022 The computer itself, oddly enough, is only a placeholder, as currently the Department of Energy is waiting on yet another chipmaker – Intel – to deliver an even more powerful supercomputer. - Make Genius Money Moves, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 The company, which will list its shares on the Nasdaq, set $1 billion as a placeholder amount for its initial public offering in the U.S. Lisa Kim, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 In informal talks with NFL coaches, general managers and owners this week, several expressed the belief that Goff remains a placeholder for the Lions, though none had a clear answer for how the team will proceed at the position. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 29 Mar. 2022 Ogletree's yearbook photo replaced a placeholder image of an oak leaf. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 18 Mar. 2022 The 39-year-old Lee was also the Cardinals' placeholder for placekicker Matt Prater last season. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 17 Mar. 2022 Urías turned out to be much more than a placeholder. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 Mar. 2022 For example, the truck Holt received has placeholder screens on the central console, Acosta said. Diego Mendoza-moyers, San Antonio Express-News, 15 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of placeholder

1927, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for placeholder

Time Traveler

The first known use of placeholder was in 1927

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Dictionary Entries Near placeholder

place hitter


place/house of worship

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Statistics for placeholder

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Placeholder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for placeholder


place·​hold·​er | \ ˈplās-ˌhōl-dər How to pronounce placeholder (audio) \

Kids Definition of placeholder

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

More from Merriam-Webster on placeholder

Britannica English: Translation of placeholder for Arabic Speakers


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