hold·​back | \ ˈhōl(d)-ˌbak How to pronounce holdback (audio) \

Definition of holdback

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that retains or restrains
2a : the act of holding back
b : something held back

hold back

held back; holding back; holds back

Definition of hold back (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to hinder the progress or achievement of : restrain
b : to keep from advancing to the next stage, grade, or level
2 : to refrain from revealing or parting with held back important information

intransitive verb

1 : to keep oneself in check
2 : to refrain from revealing or parting with something

Examples of holdback in a Sentence

Noun there'll be a holdback on production until the new machinery is fully installed the only holdback to starting the new job is my contractual commitment to my current position Verb the only thing holding Joe back from joining the swim team is lack of transportation held back her tears until she was alone
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But for now, teachers should continue moving forward with everything required under the law as if the holdback provision will be in place at the end of next school year. Trisha Powell Crain | Tcrain@al.com, al, 8 June 2021 Now, third graders in the 2021-22 school year will remain subject to a holdback provision. Trisha Powell Crain | Tcrain@al.com, al, 27 May 2021 In Mississippi, whose third-grade reading law Alabama’s was modeled after, the state board of education suspended the holdback provision for the current school year only according to a department of education spokesperson. Trisha Powell Crain | Tcrain@al.com, al, 20 May 2021 In the case of escrow, a holdback is created at closing, which means the seller does not receive all the funds. Robin Gagnon, Forbes, 11 May 2021 Typical issues are: The amount and length of the escrow holdback for indemnification claims. Gary Miller, The Denver Post, 27 Oct. 2019 The Connecticut Department of Education sent Canterbury town officials a letter saying that the additional holdback of $250,000 would incur a $500,000 Education Cost Sharing penalty. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, 3 Apr. 2018 Legislation is being discussed to do away with the penalty associated with cuts made after holdbacks were announced. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, 3 Apr. 2018 Negotiators from the House had agreed near the end of the regular session to lower the holdback to $100 million. Lsu Manship School News Service, NOLA.com, 13 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even those who appreciate the value of vaccination sometimes hold back. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Aug. 2022 Of course, risk management should remain a top priority, but security can no longer hold back the launch of new products, fast-moving business requirements or service deliveries. Ashish Gupta, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 Should parents and caregivers hold back on any extracurriculars or playdates for their kids? Katia Hetter, CNN, 2 Aug. 2022 Even your teenager will hold back rolling their eyes during family time thanks to this fun card game. Brittney Morgan And Medgina Saint-elien, House Beautiful, 25 July 2022 Jocelyn Alo doesn’t mince words, and the Sooners’ ever-candid slugger wasn’t going to hold back in the wake of top-seeded Oklahoma routing Texas in Game 1 of the Women’s College World Series finals Wednesday night. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 9 June 2022 Many company managers and shop owners are uncertain how to restore business to full capacity when Covid policies, including testing rules, still hold back the movement of workers and goods within and beyond the city. New York Times, 1 June 2022 As the audience gushed, the youngster tried (and failed) to hold back tears. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 22 June 2022 Her mother looks on fighting to hold back tears of her own. Alaa Elassar, CNN, 30 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holdback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of holdback


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1535, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for holdback

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The first known use of holdback was in 1535

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Dictionary Entries Near holdback

hold back


hold back one's tears

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Cite this Entry

“Holdback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holdback. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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