Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To keep in check; restrain.
  • transitive v. To refrain from giving, granting, or permitting. See Synonyms at keep.
  • transitive v. To deduct (withholding tax) from an employee's salary.
  • intransitive v. To refrain or forbear.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To keep (a physical object that one has obtained) to oneself rather than giving it back to its owner.
  • v. To keep (information, etc) to oneself rather than revealing it.
  • v. To retain; to keep back; not to grant; as, to withhold assent to a proposition.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To hold back; to restrain; to keep from action.
  • transitive v. To retain; to keep back; not to grant.
  • transitive v. To keep; to maintain; to retain.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To hold back; keep from action; restrain; cheek.
  • To keep back; refrain from doing, giving, permitting, etc.: as, to withhold payment; to withhold assent to something.
  • To keep; retain; hold; detain.
  • To keep; maintain.
  • To engage; retain.
  • To refrain; stay back; hold one's self in check.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. retain and refrain from disbursing; of payments
  • v. hold back; refuse to hand over or share

Etymologies

Middle English witholden : with, away from; see with + holden, to hold; see hold1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
with- +‎ hold (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And as you've learned, if you withhold from a woman something she deeply desires, then she'll surely find a way to withhold something that you desire.

    Women Take Strong Lead In New HBO Gangster Epic

  • There is clear evidence at this point that the Conservative government has colluded with witnesses before the parliamentary committee looking at allegations of torture in Afghanistan, by furnishing them with crucial documents that it continues to withhold from the committee.

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • The company warned that until its unit is able to satisfy the FDA with its responses, the regulator may in the near term withhold approval of pending new drug applications listing the Cranbury facility as the manufacturer.

    Sun Pharmaceutical Unit Gets FDA Warning

  • Let her pay off her campaign with the money the women's groups are threatening to withhold from the Obama campaign.

    Sources: Clinton, Obama supporters discussing exit strategies

  • Similarly, in Carhart II, what seems to matter is the sanction the state wants to withhold from a medical procedure that appears just awful.

    Balkinization

  • Unfortunately, this Administration's modus operandi is to withhold from the public any information at all, even at a very general level, about what the government is doing in the war on terror -- and to keep the vast majority of Congress in the dark, as well.

    Balkinization

  • I must admit to finding it strange that a Minister of the Crown should withhold from the police the names of the killers of 21 innocents and the maiming of hundreds more, that he should be happy for the killers to escape justice - and that seemingly everyone else is happy with this.

    Archive 2004-11-21

  • The secret, whose purpose was to withhold from the Germans the knowledge that their codes had been broken and that Britain had early knowledge of German fleet movements, remained undisclosed until after the war.

    Castles of Steel

  • If he considered it bad policy, and a crime which cannot escape Divine indignation, to withhold from a fellow-being his native rights, and we think him entitled to our praise for his consistent and conscientious adherence to that belief, we shall praise him most effectually by making it the basis of

    The Assassinated President

  • You bid me, Madam, live: I have now, indeed, a motive for life, since I should not willingly quit the world, while I withhold from the needy and distressed any share of that charity which a disposition so noble would otherwise bestow upon them.

    Evelina: or, The History of a Young Lady's Entrance Into the World

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