- 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.
transitive verbkept, keeping
- 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 of keepMiddle 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
for keeps☆ 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
verbkept kept, keep·ing, keeps
- To retain possession of: kept the change; must keep your composure.
- To have as a supply: keep spare parts in case of emergency.
- 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: keep the Sabbath.
- 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 of keepMiddle English kepen, from Old English cēpan, to observe, seize.
(third-person singular simple present keeps, present participle keeping, simple past and past participle kept)
- To continue in (a course or mode of action); not to intermit or fall from; to maintain.
- to keep silence; to keep one's word; to keep possession
- To hold the status of something.
- To maintain possession of.
- I keep a small stock of painkillers for emergencies.
- To maintain the condition of.
- I keep my specimens under glass to protect them.
- The abundance of squirrels kept the dogs running for hours.
- To record transactions, accounts, or events in.
- I used to keep a diary.
- To enter (accounts, records, etc.) in a book.
- (archaic) To remain in, to be confined to.
- To restrain.
- I keep my brother out of trouble by keeping him away from his friends and hard at work.
- (with from) To protect, guard.
- May the Lord keep you from harm.
- To supply with necessities and financially support a person.
- He kept a mistress for over ten years.
- (of living things) To raise; to care for.
- He has been keeping orchids since retiring.
- To maintain (an establishment or institution); to conduct; to manage.
- To have habitually in stock for sale.
- To maintain possession of.
- To continue.
- I keep taking the tablets, but to no avail.
- To remain edible or otherwise usable.
- Potatoes can keep if they are in a root cellar.
- Latex paint won't keep indefinitely.
- (copulative) To remain in a state.
- The rabbit avoided detection by keeping still.
- Keep calm! There's no need to panic.
- Godfrey Evans kept for England for many years.
- to keep one's house, room, bed, etc.
- for keeps
- (historical) The main tower of a castle or fortress, located within the castle walls. (According to keep, the word comes "from the Middle English term kype, meaning basket or cask, and was a term applied to the shell keep at Guînes, said to resemble a barrel".)
- The food or money required to keep someone alive and healthy; one's support, maintenance.
- He works as a cobbler's apprentice for his keep.
From Middle English kepen (“to keep, guard, look after, watch”), from Old English cēpan (“to seize, hold, observe”), from Proto-Germanic *kōpijaną (compare West Frisian kypje ‘to look’), variant of *kapōną (compare Old English capian ‘to look’, Dutch kapen ‘to seize, snatch’, German gaffen ‘to gape’, Danish kope (“to gawk, stare”)), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵab-, *ǵāb- (“to look after”) (compare Lithuanian žẽbti ‘to eat reluctantly’, Russian забота (zabota) ‘care, worry’).