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 ?
Gandhinagar (Gujarat) [India], Dec 22 ( ANI ): Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday put an end to all rumors about the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) holding back Rs.
HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) has suggested that the regional pay gap is holding back growth in China.
Our deficit is holding back confidence, is holding back investment, holding back growth.
"Procurement techniques should be driving innovation, but what we are seeing is poor skills holding back progress," Sir Digby told a conference in London yesterday.
New to the game, Tom relies on Kate, who is obviously holding back on what she knows and what she can do.
It turns out that federal regulations are stronger than gravity in holding back the commercial development of space launches.
The barriers were holding back women in non-managerial jobs, research for campaign group Oppor-tunity Now found.
These barriers were holding back women in non-managerial jobs with older women worst affected by them, complaining of a heightened sense of exclusion and discomfort at work.
(The rigs do double duty as clotheslines and playground equipment.) Or perhaps you are holding back on other potentially exploitable sources of oil--an overactive sebaceous gland, for example, or your spouse's version of hash brown potatoes?
The Campaign for Real Education, which presses for a return to traditional methods in the nation's classrooms, has calculated that in 1997/98 Birmingham is holding back 21 per cent from its pounds 422 million budget for the city's 450 primary, secondary and special schools in a "red tape" exercise.
It is the Bank's drive to raise capital ratios that is holding back lending.
After holding back the Mizzippy River to allow the freed slaves to cross over into Indian country, Arthur Stuart is sent to Mexico after Calvin, who has joined Steve Austin and Jim Bowie on an expedition to wipe out the natives.
Mr Taylor wrote: ``With respect to the deliberate holding back of patient data from the Active Waiting List, the inappropriate deferral of patients ...and the failure to remove patients from the Waiting Lists after validation that treatment was no longer needed,I concluded that the allegations were proven.''
Brian Moynihan said that businesses were holding back on buying capital goods until the outcome of negotiations in Washington becomes clear.
THE Government yesterday accused Liverpool education chiefs of holding back pounds 7.3m in extra funds intended for schools.