- Keep is defined as to hold, or retain something, or it can mean to continue doing something.
- An example of to keep is for a person to place all of her money in a savings account.
- An example of to keep is to continue searching until you find a job.
A bank is one place you could keep your money.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- to observe or pay regard to; specif.,
- to observe with due or prescribed acts, ceremonies, etc.; celebrate or solemnize: to keep the Sabbath
- to fulfill (a promise, etc.)
- to follow or adhere to (a routine, diet, etc.)
- to go on maintaining: to keep pace
- Archaic to attend (church, etc.) regularly
- to take care of, or have and take care or charge of; specif.,
- to protect; guard; defend
- to look after; watch over; tend
- to raise (livestock)
- to maintain in good order or condition; preserve
- to supply with food, shelter, etc.; provide for; support
- to supply with food or lodging for pay: to keep boarders
- to have or maintain in one's service or for one's use: to keep servants
- to set down regularly in writing; maintain (a continuous written record): to keep an account of sales
- to make regular entries in; maintain a continuous record of transactions, accounts, or happenings in: to keep books of account, to keep a diary
- to carry on; conduct; manage
- to maintain, or cause to stay or continue, in a specified condition, position, etc.: to keep an engine running
- to have or hold; specif.,
- to have or hold for future use or for a long time
- to have regularly in stock for sale
- to have or hold and not let go; specif.,
- to hold in custody; prevent from escaping
- to prevent from leaving; detain
- to hold back; restrain: to keep someone from talking
- to withhold
- to conceal; not tell (a secret, etc.)
- to continue to have or hold; not lose or give up
- to stay in or at; not leave (a path, course, or place)
Origin: Middle English kepen from Old English cœpan, to behold, watch out for, lay hold of, akin to Middle Low German kapen, Old Norse kopa, to stare at from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Indo-European base an unverified form ĝab-, to look at or for
- to stay or continue in a specified condition, position, etc.
- to continue; go on; persevere or persist: often with on: to keep on talking
- to hold oneself back; refrain: to keep from telling someone
- to stay in good condition; not become spoiled, sour, stale, etc.; last
- to require no immediate attention: a task that will keep until tomorrow
- ☆ Informal to continue in session: will school keep all day?
- Now Rare to reside; live; stay
- Obsolete care, charge, or custody
- the strongest, innermost part or central tower of a medieval castle; donjon
- a stronghold; fort; castle
- Rare a keeping or being kept
- what is needed to maintain a person or animal; food and shelter; support; livelihood
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb kept kept, keep·ing, keeps verb, transitive
- To retain possession of: kept the change; must keep your composure.
- To have as a supply: keep an ax in the shed.
- a. To provide (a family, for example) with maintenance and support: “There's little to earn and many to keep” (Charles Kingsley).b. To support (a mistress or lover) financially.
- To put customarily; store: Where do you keep your saw?
- a. To supply with room and board for a charge: keep boarders.b. To raise: keep chickens.
- To maintain for use or service: an urbanite who didn't keep a car.
- To manage, tend, or have charge of: Keep the shop while I'm away.
- To preserve (food).
- To cause to continue in a state, condition, or course of action: tried to keep the patient calm.
- a. To maintain records in: keep a yearly diary.b. To enter (data) in a book: keep financial records.
- a. To detain: was kept after school.b. To restrain: kept the child away from the stove; kept the crowd back with barriers.c. To prevent or deter: tried to keep the ice from melting.d. To refrain from divulging: keep a secret.e. To save; reserve: keep extra money for emergencies.
- To adhere or conform to; follow: keep late hours.
- To be faithful to; fulfill: keep one's word.
- To celebrate; observe.
- To remain in a state or condition; stay: keep in line; keep quiet; kept well.
- To continue to do: keep on talking; keep guessing.
- To remain fresh or unspoiled: The dessert won't keep.
- To restrain oneself; hold oneself back: I couldn't keep from eavesdropping.
- Care; charge: The child is in my keep for the day.
- The means by which one is supported: earn one's keep.
- a. The stronghold of a castle.b. A jail.
Origin: Middle English kepen, from Old English cēpan, to observe, seize.
keep - Phrases/Idioms
for keepsâ Informal
- with the agreement that the winner will keep what he or she wins
- forever; permanently
keep in with
- to maintain a set rhythm, beat, tempo, etc. the drummers kept time for the marching band
- to mark the elapsing of time this watch keeps good time
- to persevere in
- to avoid swerving from; adhere to
- to remain in
keep to oneself
- to avoid the company of others
- to treat (information, etc.) as confidential; not tell
- to maintain in good order or condition
- to continue; not stop or end
- to maintain the pace; not lag behind
- to remain informed about: with on or with
keep up with
keep up with the Joneses
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
keep (one's) nose clean
keep (someone) company
keep the wolf from the door
- To indicate the correct time. Music
- To maintain the tempo or rhythm.
keep to (oneself)
- To shun the company of others: She kept to herself all morning.
- To refrain from divulging: He kept the news to himself.
- For an indefinitely long period: gave the ring to me for keeps.
- Seriously and permanently: We're separating for keeps.
keep an eye on
- To watch over attentively; mind.
- To watch closely or carefully: keep your eye on the ball.
keep an eye out
keep a stiff upper lip
- To carry on a courtship: a couple who kept company but never married.
- To socialize or associate: keeps company with some tough thugs.
keep (one's) chin up