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.
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 cause one to repeat a grade of school. 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 ?
Postema explains while writing his book, "You Deserve to Be Rich" how he studied wealthy individuals who would have been considered "talentless" and "average" in society but that doesn't hold one back from searching for opportunities
Going clear" is described in the movie as a process in Scientology wherein individuals identify those painful or emotional moments in their past, moments that causes one to have fear and pain, moments that hold one back.
We made the two changes and I had to hold one back because David Obua was feeling his back at half-time and we gave him a chance to see how it went.
Written by head of The Flippin Group and expert motivational coach Flip Flippen, The Flip Side: Break Free of the Behaviors That Hold You Back is a no-nonsense self-help guide to identifying how personal constraints and often unconscious restrictions can hold one back from one's full potential.
Simple exercises, guidelines for praying in accordance with God's will, and blank pages with composition lines to better write out one's own feelings for God fill this uplifting presentation of ways to forget the past obstacles that hold one back, respect the integrity of God's word, and walk with God along the path He has chosen.
It also became clear that having the enormous baggage of command and communications vehicles would hold one back in a fast-flowing war of maneuver.