- (idiomatic) to act with reserve; to contain one's full measure or power
- Don't hold back. Hit it as hard as you can.
- (idiomatic) to contain; stop
- The dam can't hold back that much water.
- 2011 January 8, Chris Bevan, “Arsenal 1 - 1 Leeds”, BBC:
- Fabregas coolly slotted home after Ben Parker held back Theo Walcott and only a super Kasper Schmeichel save stopped Denilson winning it for the Gunners.
- (idiomatic) to delay, especially in school
- He's a year older than his classmates because he was held back in second grade.
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