1. Mathematics, Logic. a symbol in an expression that may be replaced by the name of any element of the set.
  2. a person who holds a government office, especially one appointed to the position in return for political support or favors.

Origin of placeholder

First recorded in 1550–60; place + holder Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for place-holder

Historical Examples of place-holder

  • His instructions were to break up a red-tape system, and such a task converted every place-holder into his enemy.

    The Life of Gordon, Volume II

    Demetrius Charles Boulger

Word Origin and History for place-holder

also placeholder, 1550s, from place (n.) + holder (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper