Definition of WITHHOLDING

WITHHOLDING Verb and Adjective

Withholding functions as both a verb and an adjective, depending on its usage in a sentence.


As a verb, withholding describes the action of holding back or refraining from giving or disclosing something, typically information, resources, or support.

Financial Withholding: In financial contexts, withholding often refers to the deduction of taxes or other payments from income or earnings before they are disbursed to the recipient. Employers may be required to withhold income taxes, Social Security contributions, or other deductions from employees’ paychecks on behalf of government agencies or other entities.

Information Withholding:
Withholding can pertain to the intentional concealment or suppression of information, either for personal gain, strategic advantage, or other motives. This may occur in interpersonal relationships, business negotiations, or political contexts, where parties may withhold information to manipulate outcomes or protect their interests.

Verb – Emotional Withholding:
In psychological terms, withholding can describe patterns of behavior in which individuals suppress or withhold emotional expression, often as a means of self-protection or avoidance of vulnerability. This can manifest in relationships as a reluctance to share feelings or engage in open communication, leading to misunderstandings or barriers to intimacy.

WITHHOLDING as an adjective

As an adjective, withholding describes something that has been subject to withholding, such as “withholding tax” or “withholding information.”

Legal Withholding: In a legal context, withholding may describe the retention or non-disclosure of evidence or information relevant to a legal proceeding. This can have significant implications for the administration of justice, as failure to disclose material facts or evidence may impede the fair resolution of disputes or compromise the integrity of legal proceedings.

Financial Withholding: Withholding tax, for example, is a tax deducted at the source of income, such as wages, salaries, or dividends, before the recipient receives the income. This form of taxation is common in many jurisdictions as a means of ensuring timely collection of taxes and compliance with tax laws.

In conclusion, withholding serves as both a verb and an adjective, encompassing actions and descriptions related to holding back or refraining from giving or disclosing something. Whether used to describe the deduction of taxes, the suppression of information, or the suppression of emotions, withholding carries implications for financial, legal, interpersonal, and psychological domains. As a multifaceted concept, withholding underscores the complexities of human interactions, ethical considerations, and the management of resources and information in various contexts.

Examples of WITHHOLDING in a sentence

WITHHOLDING as a verb in a sentence

  • She was accused of withholding information from the authorities.
  • The company was criticized for withholding payment from its employees.
  • He admitted to withholding the truth to protect his friend.
  • The government is considering withholding funding until certain conditions are met.
  • She struggled with withholding her emotions during the interview.
  • He was caught withholding evidence during the trial.
  • The teacher warned against withholding praise from students who deserved it.
  • They were charged with withholding taxes from their employees’ paychecks.

WITHHOLDING as an adjective in a sentence

  • The withholding tax rate varies depending on the individual’s income.
  • The withholding clause in the contract prevented the release of funds.
  • His withholding behavior raised suspicion among his colleagues.
  • The company’s withholding policy caused dissatisfaction among employees.
  • The withholding statement indicated deductions for health insurance.
  • She felt frustrated by the withholding nature of her partner.
  • The withholding provision allowed the landlord to retain the security deposit.
  • The withholding requirement delayed the completion of the project.

Etymology of WITHHOLDING

Originating from Old English and Proto-Germanic roots, the term withholding has undergone linguistic transitions before settling into its contemporary usage in English.

  • Old English and Proto-Germanic Origins: The term withholding finds its roots in Old English, where “with” denoted against or away, and “hold” conveyed the act of keeping or retaining. These elements converged to convey the idea of holding back or refraining from giving something. Similar concepts were present in Proto-Germanic languages, emphasizing the notion of retaining or restraining.
  • Middle English Transition: As Old English transitioned into Middle English, the term withholding continued to denote the action of refraining from giving or disclosing something. It described the act of keeping back information, resources, or support.
  • Early Modern English Usage: Throughout the Early Modern English period, the term withholding was commonly used in legal, financial, and interpersonal contexts to describe the deliberate act of retaining or concealing something that is due or expected. It reflected societal norms and regulations regarding obligations and responsibilities.
  • Contemporary Usage: In modern usage, withholding remains prevalent in legal, financial, and administrative contexts, describing actions such as withholding taxes, information, consent, or support. It is also used more broadly to describe the act of holding back or refraining from giving or revealing something in various interpersonal, professional, and institutional settings.

Through its journey from Old English and Proto-Germanic origins to its contemporary usage, the term withholding reflects humanity’s understanding of the nuanced dynamics of retaining, concealing, or refraining from giving something, encompassing legal, interpersonal, and societal dimensions.


  • Concealing
  • Suppressing
  • Retaining
  • Concealing
  • Holding back
  • Keeping secret
  • Withdrawing
  • Securing


  • Disclosing
  • Revealing
  • Releasing
  • Granting
  • Divulging
  • Sharing
  • Surrendering
  • Providing


  • Concealment
  • Secrecy
  • Non-disclosure
  • Reservation
  • Privacy
  • Withstand
  • Restraining
  • Obstructing

🌐 🇬🇧 WITHHOLDING in other languages

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