[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.

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

Synonyms for withhold

1, 2. suppress, repress. See keep.

Antonyms for withhold

1, 2. advance.

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

Related Words for withholding

confining, deterring, hindering, curbing, restrictive

Examples from the Web for withholding

Contemporary Examples of withholding

Historical Examples of withholding

  • The withholding of the father's blessing, in the Bible, was curse.

    Slavery Ordained of God

    Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.

  • He seemed oddly struggling with some withholding uncertainties of his own.

    The Innocent Adventuress

    Mary Hastings Bradley

  • This was natural enough, for they had most to gain by withholding payment.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

  • It distinctly recommended the withholding of the annual supplies.

  • Did she, like the rest of them, suspect me of seeking to frustrate his suit by withholding his fortune?


    Henry Seton Merriman

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

withholding in Culture

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.