keep (someone or something) back

idiom

Definition of keep (someone or something) back

1 : to not allow (someone) to go near something The police kept the spectators back.
2 US : to not allow (a student) to advance to the next grade level usually used as (be) kept back Students who fail the exam may be kept back a year.
3 British : to require (a student) to stay at school after classes have ended She was kept back for talking in class.
4 : to not allow (something) to appear or be known He struggled to keep back his tears. The government kept back some crucial information from the media.

Learn More About keep (someone or something) back

Dictionary Entries Near keep (someone or something) back

keep (someone or something) at arm's length

keep (someone or something) back

keep (someone or something) going

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for keep (someone or something) back

Cite this Entry

“Keep (someone or something) back.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/keep%20%28someone%20or%20something%29%20back. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!