hold back

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hold back

1. To physically restrain someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "back." I held him back so that he didn't run after her.
2. To not do something to the fullest extent that one can. Don't hold back on the court—I don't want you to let me win.
3. To obstruct someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "back." Your fears are really holding you back in life. The levee is holding back the floodwaters, for now.
4. To keep something in one's possession. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "back." I held back some of the money, so we still have some cash left.
5. To require a student to repeat a grade of school. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "back." Am I really being held back? I don't want to repeat junior year—can't I go to summer school or something?
See also: back, hold

hold (someone, something, or an animal) back (from someone or something)

to restrain someone, something, or an animal from getting at or getting to someone or something. The parents held the children back from the cake and ice cream until the hostess said she was ready. Please hold back your dog.
See also: back, hold

hold back (on something)

to withhold something; to give or take only a limited amount. Hold back on the gravy. I'm on a diet. That's enough. Hold back. Save some for the others.
See also: back, hold

hold back

Also, keep back.
1. Retain in one's possession or control, as in He held back vital information, or I managed to keep back my tears. [First half of 1500s]
2. Restrain one-self, as in She held back from joining the others, or I wanted to denounce him right there, but I kept back for fear of making a scene. The first usage dates from the second half of the 1500s, the variant from the early 1800s.
3. Impede the progress of, as in The barriers held back traffic during the funeral procession, or Her daughter was kept back and had to repeat first grade.
See also: back, hold

hold back

v.
1. To restrain someone or something: The principal held back the bully. We held the dog back when the guests arrived.
2. To retain something in one's possession or control: The witness held back valuable information. I held my tears back when I heard the bad news.
3. To impede the progress of someone or something: Your interference is holding me back from completing the job. The manager's incompetence held back the staff from meeting their sales quota.
See also: back, hold
References in periodicals archive ?
Roughly 100,000 students had been held back since the program began in 1997, the paper reported.
8220;We are delighted to be teaming up with MiniFrame to help school systems to have a cost-efficient way to educate their students using computers,” said Yovel, of the No Child Held Back Consortium.
Police claimed it would have been a "positively dangerous" situation if the Leeds United fans were held back after the game, which Boro lost 2-1, because of overcrowding and lack of space.
Budgets normally take place in March, and it is virtually unprecedented for them to be held back until after the start of the financial year on April 1.
Fancy goods were held back by French retailers to woo consumers at the turn of the year, the study by Claire Walsh, from the University of Warwick, also discovered.
Spain's players were held back in disgraceful scenes at the final whistle after they lost their cool.
WOMENS' careers are being held back because they are regarded as being less committed if they have family responsibilities.
com)-- The No Child Held Back Consortium announces the launch of the No Child Held Back Education Innovation Grant that will be available to 500 schools nationwide.
His assumes that Newcastle is being held back by the ambitions of other parts of the North East.
The Bible-reading churchgoer was held back by friends as he yelled: "If someone doesn't get this woman out of my face I'll finish her off.
It added that growth had also been held back by operational problems at new plants in Barton near Hull and Scunthorpe.
WOMEN'S careers are being held back, often because they are regarded as being less committed if they have family responsibilities, according to a new report today.
Mr Seaton said that Birmingham could find almost pounds 25 million extra for the city's schools - without needing to take extra cash from the taxpayer - if it reduced the percentage it held back to the level achieved by the most efficient local educationauthorities.