keep (someone or something) back


: to not allow (someone) to go near something
The police kept the spectators back.
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.
British : to require (a student) to stay at school after classes have ended
She was kept back for talking in class.
: 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.

Dictionary Entries Near keep (someone or something) back

Cite this Entry

“Keep (someone or something) back.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2023.

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