withhold

verb

with·​hold with-ˈhōld How to pronounce withhold (audio)
wit͟h-
withheld with-ˈheld How to pronounce withhold (audio)
wit͟h-
; withholding

transitive verb

1
: to hold back from action : check
2
archaic : to keep in custody
3
: to refrain from granting, giving, or allowing
withhold permission
4
: to deduct (withholding tax) from income

intransitive verb

: forbear, refrain
withhold from commenting
withholder noun
Choose the Right Synonym for withhold

keep, retain, detain, withhold, reserve mean to hold in one's possession or under one's control.

keep may suggest a holding securely in one's possession, custody, or control.

keep this while I'm gone

retain implies continued keeping, especially against threatened seizure or forced loss.

managed to retain their dignity even in poverty

detain suggests a delay in letting go.

detained them for questioning

withhold implies restraint in letting go or a refusal to let go.

withheld information from the authorities

reserve suggests a keeping in store for future use.

reserve some of your energy for the last mile

Examples of withhold in a Sentence

She was accused of withholding evidence. She has $20 withheld from her paycheck every week.
Recent Examples on the Web The complaint, which was obtained by PEOPLE, alleges Jonas is withholding their children’s passports which is preventing the girls from being reunited with the actress. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 22 Sep. 2023 The film withholds that information until the penultimate scene, although one of its shortcomings is that without speech, whatever Duffield’s trying to say proves confusing to interpret. Peter Debruge, Variety, 22 Sep. 2023 The findings of that investigation, dubbed Operation Fouled Anchor, had been withheld from Congress until CNN reporters started making inquiries. Melanie Hicken, CNN, 21 Sep. 2023 The victim’s family has been notified but officials are withholding the name of the man until all his family members have been made aware. Jon Haworth, ABC News, 21 Sep. 2023 It too had been previously withheld from the public in its entirety. Jacqueline Alemany, Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2023 Some schools withhold transcripts, kick students off their meal plans or remove them from classes for falling behind on payments, according to the report. Danielle Douglas-Gabriel The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 16 Sep. 2023 Several members of the UAP panel received threats because of their work, and the agency withheld the new UAP research director’s name for several hours after announcing his appointment due to fears of harassment. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Sep. 2023 The president, Shawn Fain, has withheld his endorsement of President Biden. NBC News, 17 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'withhold.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from with from + holden to hold — more at with

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of withhold was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near withhold

Cite this Entry

“Withhold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/withhold. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

withhold

verb
with·​hold with-ˈhōld How to pronounce withhold (audio)
wit͟h-
withheld -ˈheld How to pronounce withhold (audio) ; withholding
1
: to hold back : restrain
withhold an angry response
2
: to refuse to grant, give, or allow
withhold permission
3
: to deduct (withholding tax) from income
withholder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on withhold

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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