hold off

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hold off

1. To prevent someone or something from advancing or approaching; to keep someone or something at bay. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "off." We can't hold off the police for much longer—they're going to find us!
2. To wait to take action. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hold" and "off." I know you want to start on that project, but hold off until I get these questions answered by the boss.
See also: hold, off
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hold someone or something off

 
1. and keep someone or something off Lit. to do something physical to keep someone or something away; to stave someone or something off. Tom was trying to rob us, but we managed to hold him off. We held off the attackers. I couldn't keep off the reporters any longer.
2. Fig. to make someone or something wait. I know a lot of people are waiting to see me. Hold them off for a while longer. See what you can do to hold off the reporters.
See also: hold, off

hold off (on someone or something)

to delay doing something concerning someone or something. Please hold off on Tom until we interview the other candidates. I will hold off on this job for a while.
See also: hold, off
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

hold off

1. Keep at a distance, resist, delay, as in This payment should hold off the creditors. [Early 1400]
2. Stop or delay from action, as in Let's hold off until we know more. [c. 1600]
See also: hold, off
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.

hold off

v.
1. To keep someone or something at a distance; resist someone or something: The firm's attorney held the creditors off. We held off the reporters as long as we could.
2. To stop or delay doing something: Let's hold off until we have more data. I held off buying a house until I had a down payment.
See also: hold, off
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.
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References in classic literature ?
It wasn't all done in an instant, though, for these chairs were all swept over yonder, and he had one in his hand as if he had tried to hold her off with it.