keep (someone or something) back

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

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.

Word by Word Definitions

keep play
  1. : to retain in one's possession or power

  2. : to refrain from granting, giving, or allowing

  3. : to have in control

  1. : the means or provisions by which one is kept

  2. : one that keeps or protects: such as

  3. : fortress, castle

someone play
  1. : some person : somebody

something play
  1. : some indeterminate or unspecified thing

  2. : some indeterminate amount more than a specified number

  3. : a person or thing of consequence

  1. : in some degree : somewhat

  2. used as an intensive giving adverbial force to an adjective

back play
  1. : the rear part of the human body especially from the neck to the end of the spine

  2. : the body considered as the wearer of clothes

  3. : capacity for labor, effort, or endurance

  1. : to, toward, or at the rear

  2. : in or into the past : backward in time

  3. : to or at an angle off the vertical

  1. : being at or in the back

  2. : distant from a central or main area

  3. : articulated at or toward the back of the oral passage : formed deep within the mouth

  1. : to support by material or moral assistance

  2. : substantiate

  3. : to assume financial responsibility for


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