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 ?
"Relational Reset: Unlearning the Habits that Hold You Back" will reveal unhealthy patterns that may be holding you back, give you practical steps for improving your relationships, and help you find your ultimate security and identity in Jesus Christ.
You will soon move forward without the old fears holding you back.
Virginity is a wonderful thing but can seem like a chain holding you back as you get older.
He is holding you back," according to Australian reports.
Is you stuff holding you back? Is your garage/spare room/ under stair cupboard a hell hole?
You are suddenly free from something that was holding you back, and on top of that there is a new force working to move you forward.
What's Really Holding You Back? by Valorie Burton WaterBrook Press, May 2005 $13.99, ISBN 1-57856-821-8
If being overweight is holding you back, this is an opportunity for real, lasting change.
A talk with an interior designer on how women's living spaces can inadvertently shut out men, a home visit by an image consultant who will make your closet `man ready,' a trip to the bridal shop so you can visualize yourself getting married, twice-weekly group lectures by Graman focusing on what's holding you back, individual weekly sessions with a Graman-trained `Guidess,' two Q&A sessions with a panel of live men, instructions on acting like a goddess, and five three-day weekend workshops aimed at making you nicer to be around."
For CEOs and other high earners, retirement planning is like playing golf in bubble gum: Everything is holding you back.
If you say that cost is one of the things holding you back you may be lucky and find he will at least chip in towards lessons.
He is holding you back." But Brian has hit back in a letter, writing: "You don't know anything about my career or future.