hold out(redirected from a hold-out)
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1. verb To physically extend something to someone or something. Can you hold out a towel for me to dry my hands?
2. verb To refuse to accept an offer or agreement, usually in order to wait for something else. I think they're lowballing me, so I plan to hold out for a better contract. All the other homeowners in the area have agreed to sell their property, but we are still holding out.
3. verb To remain in supply. How long do we think these drinks will hold out? Should I pour some more?
4. verb To maintain a defensive position. The police are going to breach this blockade eventually—we can't hold out forever.
5. verb To continue to survive or endure. Our food and water are starting to run low, so I don't think we can hold out much longer if help doesn't arrive soon. Business has been pretty bad lately, but we're trying to hold out in the hopes that the market starts to improve.
6. verb To keep something from someone or something else, especially information or money. Someone still needs to chip in three more bucks to cover the bill. Who's holding out? Are you holding out on me? Do you know more details about the merger than you're letting on?
7. verb To withhold someone or something (from something). In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "out." I heard that Sarah's parents are holding her out of play rehearsals because she has the mumps. Hold these pink cupcakes out for now—there's more than enough already on the table.
8. noun One who is opposed to an offer or agreement. In this usage, the phrase is often written as one word ("holdout"). We've still got some holdouts who are voting against this contract.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
hold someone or something out (of something)and hold someone or something out
to set someone or something aside from the rest; to prevent someone or a group from participating. Her parents held her out of sports because of her health. They held out every player who had an injury.
hold something out (to someone)
to offer something to someone. I held a bouquet of roses out to her. I held out an offer of immunity from prosecution to her, but she would not cooperate.
hold out (for someone or something)
to strive to wait for someone or something. I will hold out for someone who can do the job better than the last person we interviewed. I want to hold out for a better offer.
(against someone or something) to continue one's defense against someone or something. We can hold out against them only a little while longer. Dave can hold out forever.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Extend, stretch forth; also, present or offer something. For example, He held out his hand and she took it, or The new policy held out promise of major changes in the welfare program. These usages date from the first half of the 1500s and of the 1600s respectively.
2. Last, continue to be in supply or service, as in The food is holding out nicely. [Late 1500s] Also see hold up, def. 4.
3. Continue to resist, as in The garrison held out for another month. [Second half of 1700s]
4. Withhold cooperation, agreement, or information, as in We've asked for a better deal, but they've been holding out for months. It is also put as hold out on, as in They were still holding out on some of the provisions, or He's not telling us what happened; he's holding out on us.
5. hold out for. Insist on obtaining, as in The union is still holding out for a better contract. [c. 1900]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To present or proffer something as being attainable: I held a carrot out for the rabbit. The valet held out the keys for us.
2. To continue to be in supply or service; last: Our food held out during the blizzard.
3. To continue to resist: The defending garrison held out for a month.
4. To refuse to reach or satisfy an agreement: The union held out for three months without signing the contract.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.