keep back

(redirected from hold someone back)

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

to make someone, something, or an animal stay in a position away from someone or something. Keep everyone back from the injured lady. Please keep the dogs back from the turtle.
See also: back, keep

keep someone or something back

to hold someone or something in reserve. Keep back some of the food for an emergency. We are keeping Karen back until the other players have exhausted themselves.
See also: back, keep

keep someone back

 and hold someone back 
1. Lit. to restrain people from moving forward or getting in the way. The police were ordered to keep people back so they wouldn't interfere with the paramedics.
2. Fig. to keep a child in the same grade for an extra year. We asked them to keep John back a year. John was kept back a year in school.
3. Fig. to keep someone from advancing in life. I think that your limited vocabulary is keeping you back. Her lack of computer skills kept her back in her career.
See also: back, keep

keep back

1. To remain out of the way: The spectators at the film shoot kept back. Passengers are requested to keep back behind the yellow line.
2. To cause someone or something to remain out of the way: The police kept the onlookers back so that the paramedics could do their job. The fine mesh kept back the debris.
3. To fail to advance someone to the next grade or class of school; flunk: The teacher kept three struggling students back. A tutor helped each student who was kept back.
See also: back, keep
References in periodicals archive ?
Any sense of shame can hold someone back from seeking medical help, so it's hugely important we change our attitudes towards lung cancer.
There is real self-sufficiency, although Jinman watches for health and safety and the final, painful decision to hold someone back who is not ready for the expedition.
According to Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty member Francis Flynn, the most identifiable trait that can hold someone back from becoming a great leader is being too assertive -- or not assertive enough.
A low level of self-efficacy will hold someone back from taking positive strides toward professional growth.
Old resentments can hold someone back in life and putting these issues behind her will help you both build a strong family together, and hopefully not repeat many of the mistakes.
His research has found that the greatest identifiable trait that can hold someone back from becoming a great leader is being too assertiveCoor not assertive enough.