hold out

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Alternative forms[edit]


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hold out (third-person singular simple present holds out, present participle holding out, simple past and past participle held out)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see hold,‎ out.
  2. (transitive) To hold (something) out; to extend (something) forward.
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
      I held out my hand, and the horrible, soft-spoken, eyeless creature gripped it in a moment like a vise. I was so much startled that I struggled to withdraw; but the blind man pulled me close up to him with a single action of his arm.
  3. (idiomatic, often with for) To wait, or refuse in hopes of getting something better (from a negotiation, etc.)
    I am holding out for more money.
    How long has he been holding out?
  4. (idiomatic) To survive, endure.
    How long can they hold out without water?
    • 2011 September 2, “Wales 2-1 Montenegro”, in BBC[1]:
      Stevan Jovetic gave Montenegro hope when he unleashed a pile-driver but Wales held out for a much-needed win.
  5. (idiomatic, usually with on) To withhold something.
    You've got a key! Why have you been holding out on me?
  6. (transitive) To set something aside or save it for later.
    Pack the boxes, but hold out a few blue ones for later.



hold out (plural hold outs)

  1. Alternative spelling of holdout.

See also[edit]