Definition of hold back in English:

hold back

phrasal verb

  • Hesitate to act or speak.

    ‘he held back, remembering the mistake he had made before’
    • ‘This match began in a frenzy of punches with neither boxer holding back nor defending themselves with great aplomb.’
    • ‘The fear of doing something wrong holds back so many people when learning how to do things.’
    • ‘There was little indication yesterday that producers were holding back but there are still four days to go.’
    • ‘I've been holding back from commenting on them until I've had a chance to let my impressions settle a little.’
    • ‘Part of me is still for holding back as I don't want either of us to get hurt, but each day we just seem to grow deeper and deeper in love with each other.’
    • ‘We're holding back on our enthusiasm until we are told that exchange of contracts has been scheduled firmly.’
    • ‘This is the writer's strength - when she holds back she makes the reader want to take those imaginative leaps.’
    • ‘However, it holds back from actually making a critical judgment.’
    • ‘Whereas most DJs put on this all pervasive and all-knowing on-air persona, he holds back and comes across as merely another average guy just trying to get his head around this strange world we live in.’
    • ‘Our very opinionated panel never holds back on the big stories of the week.’
    hesitate, pause, stop oneself, restrain oneself, desist, forbear, discontinue, withhold from doing something, refrain from doing something
    View synonyms