Synonym Chooser

How is the word withhold distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of withhold are detain, keep, reserve, and retain. While all these words mean "to hold in one's possession or under one's control," withhold implies restraint in letting go or a refusal to let go.

withheld information from the authorities

When would detain be a good substitute for withhold?

The synonyms detain and withhold are sometimes interchangeable, but detain suggests a delay in letting go.

detained them for questioning

In what contexts can keep take the place of withhold?

While in some cases nearly identical to withhold, keep may suggest a holding securely in one's possession, custody, or control.

keep this while I'm gone

When is it sensible to use reserve instead of withhold?

The words reserve and withhold can be used in similar contexts, but reserve suggests a keeping in store for future use.

reserve some of your energy for the last mile

When might retain be a better fit than withhold?

In some situations, the words retain and withhold are roughly equivalent. However, retain implies continued keeping, especially against threatened seizure or forced loss.

managed to retain their dignity even in poverty

Thesaurus Entries Near withhold

Cite this Entry

“Withhold.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/withhold. Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

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