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    #1

    What is the difference between withhold & forfeit?

    For instance, can both be used at here: "Please note that your incentive may be withheld / forfeited if you do not perform the above update before the deadline"? Many thanks!

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    #2

    Re: What is the difference between withhold & forfeit?

    In that passive sentence there's no difference. In the active usage you would forfeit the incentive; somebody else would withhold it.

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    #3

    Re: What is the difference between withhold & forfeit?

    I do see a difference in the passive sentence. Forfeited is permanent; withheld​ is temporary.
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  1. Roman55's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What is the difference between withhold & forfeit?

    My first impulse, when reading the question, was to talk about a nuance of meaning between forfeit and withhold, but the logic of the context doesn't really allow for it.

    If the 'incentive may be withheld if you do not perform the above update before the deadline' then I wouldn't expect it to be given at a later date.
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    #5

    Re: What is the difference between withhold & forfeit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman55 View Post
    My first impulse, when reading the question, was to talk about a nuance of meaning between forfeit and withhold, but the logic of the context doesn't really allow for it.

    If the 'incentive may be withheld if you do not perform the above update before the deadline' then I wouldn't expect it to be given at a later date.
    On reflection, I agree. In the US, wages are paid with approximate taxes withheld. Every American who has ever held a job is familiar with that term, and large numbers of tax filers are later at least partially reimbursed when they claim a refund. Hence, the word withhold tends to have an association with later reimbursement in this American's mind.
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  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: What is the difference between withhold & forfeit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman55 View Post
    If the 'incentive may be withheld if you do not perform the above update before the deadline' then I wouldn't expect it to be given at a later date.
    I agree. For me, that makes 'withheld' inappropriate.

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    #7

    Re: What is the difference between withhold & forfeit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    In that passive sentence there's no difference. In the active usage you would forfeit the incentive; somebody else would withhold it.
    I think this is the closest meaning. But there's still a difference in the passive: the incentive is withheld by the boss, and forfeited by the employee. The words are opposites. If you withhold, you keep something back; if you forfeit, you give something away.

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    #8

    Re: What is the difference between withhold & forfeit?

    Then would 'be forfeited' suggest that the listener already has the incentive, which may be taken away if ...?
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  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: What is the difference between withhold & forfeit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    Then would 'be forfeited' suggest that the listener already has the incentive, which may be taken away if ...?
    You have a right to the incentive. You give away the right to receive it under certain conditions.

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