- (idiom) To hold back is to stop yourself from saying or doing something. Holding back keeps something secret.
- He held back his problems for many years, not telling anyone.
- (idiom) If an object holds back something, it stops it from moving.
- A dam can hold back a lot of water.
- (idiom) If someone is held back in school, they do not move on to the next grade.
- He is old for his grade because he was held back.