Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

hold off

 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyhold off
he/she/itholds off
present participleholding off
past tenseheld off
past participleheld off
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to deliberately delay doing something

    He may decide to hold off for a few days.

    hold off on:

    How much longer can they hold off on political reform?

    hold off doing something:

    She held off calling him until the last possible moment.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to stop someone who is trying to attack you from coming close

    I held them off with bricks and stones.

  3. 3
    [transitive] mainly journalism to stop an opponent from starting to win or lead

    They held off a furious late challenge by Fiji to win 37–25.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to stop something from happening

    They can hold off the vote until the election.

See also main entry: hold

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog