[with-hohld, with-]

verb (used with object), with·held, with·hold·ing.

to hold back; restrain or check.
to refrain from giving or granting: to withhold payment.
to collect (taxes) at the source of income.
to deduct (withholding tax) from an employee's salary or wages.

verb (used without object), with·held, with·hold·ing.

to hold back; refrain.
to deduct withholding tax.

Nearby words

  1. witherite,
  2. withers,
  3. withershins,
  4. witherspoon,
  5. witherspoon, john,
  6. withholding tax,
  7. within,
  8. within an ace of,
  9. within bounds,
  10. within call

Origin of withhold

First recorded in 1150–1200, withhold is from the Middle English word withholden. See with-, hold1

Related formswith·hold·er, nounun·with·held, adjective

withholding tax


that part of an employee's tax liability withheld by the employer from wages or salary and paid directly to the government.

Origin of withholding tax

First recorded in 1940–45

Also called withhold·ing.

Related formsun·with·hold·ing, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for withholding

British Dictionary definitions for withholding


verb -holds, -holding or -held

(tr) to keep back; refrain from givinghe withheld his permission
(tr) to hold back; restrain
(tr) to deduct (taxes, etc) from a salary or wages
(intr usually foll by from) to refrain or forbear
Derived Formswithholder, noun

withholding tax


tax deducted at source from income, esp from dividends, paid to nonresidents of a country, which may be reclaimed if a double-taxation agreement exists between the country in which the income is paid and the country of residence of the recipient
US a portion of an employee's tax liability paid directly to the government by the employer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for withholding



c.1200, from with- "back, away" (see with) + holden "to hold" (see hold (v.)); probably a loan-translation of Latin retinere "to withhold." Related: Withheld; withholding. Past participle form withholden was still used 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for withholding

withholding tax

The tax withheld (or deducted) directly from one's paycheck.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.