Definition of hold someone/something back in English:

hold someone/something back

phrasal verb

  • 1Prevent or restrict the progress or development of someone or something.

    ‘my lack of experience held me back a bit’
    • ‘It is, I suppose, a lack of confidence about architectural values that holds us back from bold new statements and the imaginative adaptation of old buildings.’
    • ‘I know what holds me back: negativity, lack of confidence, anxiousness, and expectations.’
    • ‘We will not allow this experience to hold us back from doing anything.’
    • ‘We have so many ideas on promoting the history of soccer in America but our lack of funds is holding us back.’
    • ‘Apparently I am smarter than average, quite bright, but my lack self-confidence and initiative is holding me back.’
    • ‘It holds me back from progressing as fast as I'd like.’
    • ‘I didn't want something like lack of money to hold you back.’
    • ‘I've missed my friends and family and although we have made some new friends, the language barrier holds you back.’
    • ‘She wanted to experience life and didn't want to have anything to hold her back.’
    • ‘Remember, my sickness had held me back from exploring things that other young people could experience.’
    hinder, hamper, inhibit, impede, obstruct, check, curb, block, thwart, baulk, hamstring, restrain, frustrate, retard, delay, prevent from making progress, stand in someone's way
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    1. 1.1hold something back Refuse or be unwilling to make something known.
      ‘you're not holding anything back from me, are you?’
      • ‘You know you've developed a good relationship with your students when they tell you about their weekends without holding anything back.’
      • ‘Well, one of the reasons I think there is a whiff of scandal here, at least as far as journalists are concerned, is because a lot of this information was held back by the administration.’
      • ‘Today, government figures are held back not only by a fear of being rumbled, but a terror that they won't be able to pull it off.’
      • ‘She leaves a suicide note, whose contents are held back until an appropriately melodramatic turning point.’
      • ‘What are you holding back that you're afraid to tell me?’
      withhold, hide, conceal, keep back, keep secret, keep hidden, keep silent about, keep quiet about, hush up, refuse to disclose, suppress
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