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hold back

Meaning: to stop someone or something from going forward, or from progressing in some way

Synonym: keep back, restrain (formal)

For example:

  • hold sb/sth back Joey was so angry that he wanted to attack the referee, but luckily his teammates held him back.

  • hold back sb/sth Tiger thinks his lack of arm strength is holding back his development as a golfer, so he's building up his arm muscles.

Quick Quiz:

Lisa wants to be a successful businesswoman, and she thinks her English is holding her back because
  1. her English is poor
  2. her English is excellent
  3. her English is improving

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