- 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)
The child is in my keep for the day.
Keep the shop while I'm away.
Tried to keep the patient calm.
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.
Keep one's word.
- 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.
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.
Keep spare parts in case of emergency.
Keep the Sabbath.
Keep in line; keep quiet; kept well.
Keep on talking; keep guessing.
The dessert won't keep.
I couldn't keep from eavesdropping.
Earn one's keep.
- To have or hold for future use or for a long time.
- To have regularly in stock for sale.
To keep on talking.
To keep from telling someone.
A task that will keep until tomorrow.
Will school keep all day?
To keep silence; to keep one's word; to keep possession.
- I keep a small stock of painkillers for emergencies.
- 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.
- May the Lord keep you from harm.
- To supply with necessities and financially support a person.He kept a mistress for over ten years.
- He has been keeping orchids since retiring.
- To maintain (an establishment or institution); to conduct; to manage.
- To have habitually in stock for sale.
Potatoes can keep if they are in a root cellar.
Latex paint won't keep indefinitely.
Kept the change; must keep your composure.
Where do you keep your saw?
An urbanite who didn't keep a car.
Keep late hours.
- 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 keep an engine running.
- For an indefinitely long period:Gave the ring to me for keeps.
- Seriously and permanently:We're separating for keeps.
- To watch over attentively; mind.
- To watch closely or carefully:Keep your eye on the ball.
- To be watchful.
- To be courageous or stoic in the face of adversity.
- To carry on a courtship:A couple who kept company but never married.
- To socialize or associate:Keeps company with some tough thugs.
- To be stalwart, courageous, or optimistic in the face of difficulty.
- To be on the lookout.
- To stay out of trouble.
- To stay even with others, as in a contest.
- To accompany or remain with.
- To avoid the privation and suffering resulting from a lack of money:Both spouses had to work in order to keep the wolf from the door.
- To indicate the correct time.
- To maintain the tempo or rhythm.
- To shun the company of others:She kept to herself all morning.
- To refrain from divulging:He kept the news to himself.
- with the agreement that the winner will keep what he or she wins
- forever; permanently
- to continue doing, practicing, etc.; persist in (an activity)
- to remain on good terms with
- to persevere in
- to avoid swerving from; adhere to
- to remain in
- 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
- to go or do as fast as; stay even with
- to strive to get all the material things one's neighbors or associates have
Idioms and Phrasal Verbs
Origin of keep
- Middle English kepen from Old English cēpan to observe, seize
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- 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’).