Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To refrain from giving or granting: synonym: keep.
  • transitive verb To keep in check; restrain.
  • transitive verb To deduct (withholding tax) from an employee's salary.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To hold back; keep from action; restrain; cheek.
  • To keep back; refrain from doing, giving, permitting, etc.: as, to withhold payment; to withhold assent to something.
  • To keep; retain; hold; detain.
  • To keep; maintain.
  • To engage; retain.
  • To refrain; stay back; hold one's self in check.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To hold back; to restrain; to keep from action.
  • transitive verb To retain; to keep back; not to grant.
  • transitive verb obsolete To keep; to maintain; to retain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To keep (a physical object that one has obtained) to oneself rather than giving it back to its owner.
  • verb transitive To keep (information, etc) to oneself rather than revealing it.
  • verb transitive To retain; to keep back; not to grant; as, to withhold assent to a proposition.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb retain and refrain from disbursing; of payments
  • verb hold back; refuse to hand over or share

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English witholden : with, away from; see with + holden, to hold; see hold.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

with- +‎ hold

Examples

  • And as you've learned, if you withhold from a woman something she deeply desires, then she'll surely find a way to withhold something that you desire.

    Women Take Strong Lead In New HBO Gangster Epic

  • There is clear evidence at this point that the Conservative government has colluded with witnesses before the parliamentary committee looking at allegations of torture in Afghanistan, by furnishing them with crucial documents that it continues to withhold from the committee.

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • Let her pay off her campaign with the money the women's groups are threatening to withhold from the Obama campaign.

    Sources: Clinton, Obama supporters discussing exit strategies

  • The company warned that until its unit is able to satisfy the FDA with its responses, the regulator may in the near term withhold approval of pending new drug applications listing the Cranbury facility as the manufacturer.

    Sun Pharmaceutical Unit Gets FDA Warning

  • Similarly, in Carhart II, what seems to matter is the sanction the state wants to withhold from a medical procedure that appears just awful.

    Balkinization

  • Unfortunately, this Administration's modus operandi is to withhold from the public any information at all, even at a very general level, about what the government is doing in the war on terror -- and to keep the vast majority of Congress in the dark, as well.

    Balkinization

  • I must admit to finding it strange that a Minister of the Crown should withhold from the police the names of the killers of 21 innocents and the maiming of hundreds more, that he should be happy for the killers to escape justice - and that seemingly everyone else is happy with this.

    Archive 2004-11-21

  • I must admit to finding it strange that a Minister of the Crown should withhold from the police the names of the killers of 21 innocents and the maiming of hundreds more, that he should be happy for the killers to escape justice - and that seemingly everyone else is happy with this.

    Two Tales Of the Troubles

  • The secret, whose purpose was to withhold from the Germans the knowledge that their codes had been broken and that Britain had early knowledge of German fleet movements, remained undisclosed until after the war.

    Castles of Steel

  • If he considered it bad policy, and a crime which cannot escape Divine indignation, to withhold from a fellow-being his native rights, and we think him entitled to our praise for his consistent and conscientious adherence to that belief, we shall praise him most effectually by making it the basis of

    The Assassinated President

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