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verb \ˈkēp\

Simple Definition of keep

  • : to continue having or holding (something) : to not return, lose, sell, give away, or throw away (something)

  • : to continue in a specified state, condition, or position

  • : to cause (someone or something) to continue in a specified state, condition, or position

Full Definition of keep

kept play \ˈkept\ keep·ing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to take notice of by appropriate conduct :  fulfill: as a :  to be faithful to <keep a promise> b :  to act fittingly in relation to <keep the Sabbath> c :  to conform to in habits or conduct <keep late hours> d :  to stay in accord with (a beat) <keep time>

  3. 2 :  preserve, maintain: as a :  to watch over and defend <keep us from harm> b (1) :  to take care of :  tend <keep a garden> (2) :  support (3) :  to maintain in a good, fitting, or orderly condition —usually used with up c :  to continue to maintain <keep watch> d (1) :  to cause to remain in a given place, situation, or condition <keep him waiting> (2) :  to preserve (food) in an unspoiled condition e (1) :  to have or maintain in an established position or relationship <keep a mistress> —often used with on <kept the cook on> (2) :  to lodge or feed for pay <keep boarders> f (1) :  to maintain a record in <keep a diary> (2) :  to enter in a book <keep records> g :  to have customarily in stock for sale

  4. 3 a :  to restrain from departure or removal :  detain <keep children after school> b :  hold back, restrain <keep them from going> <kept him back with difficulty> c :  save, reserve <keep some for later> <kept some out for a friend> d :  to refrain from revealing <keep a secret>

  5. 4 a :  to retain in one's possession or power <kept the money we found> b :  to refrain from granting, giving, or allowing <kept the news back> c :  to have in control <keep your temper>

  6. 5 :  to confine oneself to <keep my room>

  7. 6 a :  to stay or continue in <keep the path> <keep your seat> b :  to stay or remain on or in usually against opposition :  hold <kept her ground>

  8. 7 :  conduct, manage <keep a tearoom>

  9. intransitive verb
  10. 1 chiefly British :  live, lodge

  11. 2 a :  to maintain a course, direction, or progress <keep to the right> b :  to continue usually without interruption <keep talking> <keep quiet> <keep on smiling> c :  to persist in a practice <kept bothering them> <kept on smoking in spite of warnings>

  12. 3 :  stay, remain <keep out of the way> <keep off the grass>: as a :  to stay even —usually used with up <keep up with the Joneses> b :  to remain in good condition <meat will keep in the freezer> c :  to remain secret <the secret would keep> d :  to call for no immediate action <the matter will keep until morning>

  13. 4 :  abstain, refrain <can't keep from talking>

  14. 5 :  to be in session <school will keep through the winter — W. M. Thayer>

  15. 6 of a quarterback :  to retain possession of a football especially after faking a handoff

keep an eye on
  1. :  watch

keep at
  1. :  to persist in doing or concerning oneself with

keep company
  1. :  to go together as frequent companions or in courtship

keep house
  1. :  to manage a household

keep one's distance or keep at a distance
  1. :  to stay aloof :  maintain a reserved attitude

keep one's eyes open or keep one's eyes peeled
  1. :  to be on the alert :  be watchful

keep one's hand in
  1. :  to keep in practice

keep one's head down
  1. :  to avoid attracting notice

keep one's nose clean
  1. :  to avoid trouble especially through good behavior

keep pace
  1. :  to stay even; also :  keep up 1

keep step
  1. :  to keep in step

keep to
  1. 1 a :  to stay in b :  to limit oneself to

  2. 2 :  to abide by

keep to oneself
  1. 1 :  to keep secret <kept the facts to myself>

  2. 2 :  to remain solitary or apart from other people

Examples of keep

  1. She's going to keep the money she found.

  2. I can't decide whether to sell my old car or keep it for another year.

  3. While the company laid off some employees, others had hopes of keeping their jobs.

  4. The fare is $4. Here's $5. Keep the change.

  5. I asked them to keep quiet.

  6. The program teaches kids how to keep safe near water.

  7. I tried to keep the children quiet during the ceremony.

  8. The local newspaper keeps people informed about what's happening in town.

  9. The article offers tips on how to keep kids safe near water.

  10. The movie will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Origin of keep

Middle English kepen, from Old English cēpan; perhaps akin to Old High German chapfēn to look

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of keep

keep, observe, celebrate, commemorate mean to notice or honor a day, occasion, or deed. keep stresses the idea of not neglecting or violating <kept the Sabbath by refraining from work>. observe suggests marking the occasion by ceremonious performance <not all holidays are observed nationally>. celebrate suggests acknowledging an occasion by festivity <traditionally celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge dinner>. commemorate suggests that an occasion is marked by observances that remind one of the origin and significance of the event <commemorate Memorial Day with the laying of wreaths>.keep, retain, detain, withhold, reserve mean to hold in one's possession or under one's control. keep may suggest a holding securely in one's possession, custody, or control <keep this while I'm gone>. retain implies continued keeping, especially against threatened seizure or forced loss <managed to retain their dignity even in poverty>. detain suggests a delay in letting go <detained them for questioning>. withhold implies restraint in letting go or a refusal to let go <withheld information from the authorities>. reserve suggests a keeping in store for future use <reserve some of your energy for the last mile>.




Simple Definition of keep

  • : the strongest part of a castle built in the Middle Ages

Full Definition of keep

  1. 1 a archaic :  custody, charge b :  maintenance

  2. 2 :  one that keeps or protects: as a :  fortress, castle; specifically :  the strongest and securest part of a medieval castle b :  one whose job is to keep or tend c :  prison, jail

  3. 3 :  the means or provisions by which one is kept <earned his keep>

  4. 4 :  keeper 5

for keeps
  1. 1 a :  with the provision that one keep what one has won <played marbles for keeps> b :  with deadly seriousness

  2. 2 :  for an indefinitely long time :  permanently

  3. 3 :  with the result of ending the matter

Examples of keep

  1. <the keep of the stable is mainly left to the two equine-loving daughters>


First Known Use of keep


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February 9, 2016

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