from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to act with reserve; to contain one's full measure or power
  • v. to contain; stop
  • v. to delay, especially in school


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Sandbag levees had already been built to hold back the waters, and the bones now rested in a layer of thick mud and rotting vegetation, over which a tarpaulin had been stretched to protect them from the elements.

    The Killing Kind

  • Fine, I said, barely managing to hold back what could have been a ten-million-watt grin.

    Claim to Fame

  • Struggled to cling to some semblance of sophistication, to hold back the powerful tide of need that threatened to consume him.

    The Perfect Lover

  • The House Financial Services panel alone has held more than a dozen hearings on the law, in part to underscore to administration witnesses that some provisions — like forcing banks to hold back capital as a hedge against losses — will hurt business, according to the committee's chairman, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.

    GOP uses budget, other tools to weaken financial overhaul

  • But don't hold back on what youcan share because you're worried I'll turn all Victorian on you and you'll need smelling salts.

    Strategic Engagement

  • But it was only when Tlitookilakin poked Indru so hard on his head that the wolf could not hold back a cry of pain, that Indru gave his answer.

    Promise of the Wolves

  • I could not hold back a yelp as Werrna jumped on me, pinning me to the ground.

    Promise of the Wolves

  • To hold back the assault, the rear rank of the British soldiers at the front of the square turned round and directed their fire into the melée, forcing back the Ansar and killing many British troops.

    Three Empires on the Nile

  • The case of Runolfur is compelling, but even sympathetic inquirers hold back from complete assent.

    Experiencing the Next World Now

  • To the ambassador, the critical thing was to keep the talk going in Berlin; as long as that continued, he believed that Bethmann-Hollweg could hold back the submarines.

    Castles of Steel


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