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 ?
Perhaps next time he could hold back until he discovers all the facts over plans for the family's entries.
"I know I should perhaps try to be careful and hold back a bit but I am not sure that I can," said the player who is desperate to make up for lost time after suffering a season-long knee injury.
The OPEC cartel cut its oil output by 1.5m barrels per day (bpd) from 1 January 2002 and a group of independent producers, including Russia, Mexico and Norway, have also agreed to hold back a total of almost 500,000 bpd from oil markets.
The main disadvantage of this model is it requires the practice to either hold back pay or create a separate pool of funds for the incentives.
The Hold Back manager is self-sufficient, self-confident, competitive and ambitious.
According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), domestic and international banks in Dubai are not expected to hold back funds to support real estate projects in the city.
Summary: Emma Watson managed to hold back the tears at the final premiere of the last ever Harry Potter film in New York.
2 : to hold back from free action or expression : hamper <We were cramped by all the rules.>
Morley, regarded by many as the top forward in the world, insists he has learnt from the experience - but won't hold back when the two teams square up again in the Gillette Tri-Nations clash at the City of Manchester Stadium.
The exposed concrete walls of the excavated pit; purely functional when built and designed to hold back the subterranean waters of the Hudson River, came in Libeskind's design to represent the foundations of democracy, standing fast under the onslaught of a swift and terrifying enemy.
The dam would hold back flood waters by trapping some rain water in a new reservoir -- three Gorges Lake (see map, above).
WES MORGAN admits he will have to hold back the tears when he lifts the Premier League trophy after Leicester's "emotional" triumph.
That uncertainty continues to hold back the recovery.
1 : to hold back <He forbore from hitting the bully back.>