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

Definition of withhold

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

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Other Words from withhold

withholder noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for withhold



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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 Lewellen said Arkansas doesn’t have a warrant of habitability, which essentially means tenants do not have a right to safe, habitable housing and do not have a right to withhold rent or sue the landlord because their home isn’t liveable. Nyssa Kruse, Arkansas Online, "Grown: What protections do renters have in Arkansas?," 23 Nov. 2020 Auburn at the time decided to withhold Purifoy and Wiley from competition indefinitely due to their involvement in the ordeal. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Auburn basketball self-imposes 1-year postseason ban," 22 Nov. 2020 The result has been a cycle of weak attendance that spurs studios to withhold expensive blockbusters, which further discourages customers from coming. Katherine Doherty, Bloomberg.com, "Cineworld Weighs Rival Rescue Plans From Lenders, Centerbridge," 20 Nov. 2020 The countries are irked by a new mechanism that allows the EU to withhold funds from members states that violate the rule of law in certain circumstances. David Meyer, Fortune, "Time to Measure Up," 17 Nov. 2020 In October, lawmakers approved a plan to withhold federal funding for the region, further inflaming the tensions. Washington Post, "What is behind the conflict in Ethiopia?," 17 Nov. 2020 The Trump administration continues to withhold transition funds, office space and other resources. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Here's what U.S. is losing as transition is delayed," 13 Nov. 2020 Pamela Strain, 63, the founder and president of Beacon Hill Preparatory Academy, entered a guilty plea to one count each of filing a false tax return and failure to withhold payroll taxes for her employees as required by law. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, "Former suburban school CEO pleads guilty to stealing from nutrition program for needy kids to fund lavish lifestyle," 29 Oct. 2020 If companies take this approach and withhold taxes for employees starting Wednesday, the taxes will be deferred until January 1. Shannon Liao, CNN, "US Treasury gives guidance on Trump's payroll tax deferral action," 29 Aug. 2020

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

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

History and Etymology for withhold

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

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Time Traveler for withhold

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for withhold

Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Withhold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/withhold. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for withhold


How to pronounce withhold (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of withhold

: to hold (something) back
: to refuse to provide (something)
US : to take out (an amount of money for taxes) from someone's income


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

Kids Definition of withhold

: to refuse to give, grant, or allow The teacher withheld permission.

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