Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

hold (back/off)

hold backhold off
Meaning(s)
1) wait or postpone
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • hold back/off from doing something
  • Analysis
    To 'hold back' from something means to hesitate or to stop yourself from doing something. You might 'hold yourself back' from answering a question for example if you are not 100% sure of the answer. You might 'hold back' from trying something new because you are afraid or 'hold back' telling someone something out of fear of making the situation worse or making them upset. To 'hold off' on doing something, however, means to postpone it, delay it or prevent it from happening altogether. You could ask someone to 'hold off for a couple of days' in order to buy time. You can also say "The rain held off for the duration of the wedding." to say that the rain stopped during that time.
  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. I won't allow this to hold us back from completing this project. We need to keep going!
    2. I think you should hold back from doing that work until we have everything we need.
    3. Hold off until tomorrow. We don't have to do this today.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. Hold off on writing the report. I have a few more things to go over with you before you start.
    2. The media have been generous. They have held off on criticising us this time, but we might not be so lucky in the future.
    3. I feel that we should hold back from launching this product until we get it absolutely right.
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