Definition of keep in English:



  • 1Have or retain possession of.

    ‘my father would keep the best for himself’
    ‘she had trouble keeping her balance’
    • ‘The office has also had trouble keeping multicultural admissions officers more than two years.’
    • ‘Then with a patronizing tone they tell me that I can keep the change.’
    • ‘How do some of these individuals keep their positions of employment I wonder?’
    • ‘He is having trouble keeping his charges' attention while she bobs and weaves in the background.’
    • ‘They may agree to match or better the quote in order to keep your business.’
    • ‘Ultimately though, Edwards had just too much speed and he kept his composure to win the day and the season.’
    • ‘She must have loved him very much as she kept every diary and letter he wrote from 1906 until he died.’
    • ‘He then ordered two cheese burgers and a cola, gave me all his money, and told me to keep the change.’
    • ‘There will also be a wide range of high quality locally produced crafts, great to keep or to give as gifts!’
    • ‘Key to overturning Labour's landslides was to remain the party willing to allow people to keep more of their own money.’
    • ‘I have a wife and one-year old baby that I have to provide for, and right now that means keeping my third-shift convenience store job.’
    • ‘And in return the councils can keep a share of the extra revenue raised through business tax to spend in their areas.’
    • ‘Allotment gardeners who won their fight to keep their rented plots may now bid to buy them outright.’
    • ‘And on the following Friday night, they kept their nerve to win a hugely-physical dogfight.’
    • ‘I check to see what the best rates are and challenge my lender to keep my business by giving me a better deal.’
    • ‘I had trouble keeping my balance because I had an open soda pop can in my hands so I had to go slower.’
    • ‘If I'd kept the house for just 3 more years it would have doubled in price.’
    • ‘Good time to drink, he thought, heading to the bar, and leaving Ada to keep a table by the dance floor.’
    • ‘Mr Taylor said Brown had told him it was a new year so he intended to stay out of trouble and to keep his job.’
    • ‘If she keeps her seat at the local elections, she will be made mayor on May 17, with her husband Mike as Mayor's Consort.’
    1. 1.1Retain or reserve for future use.
      ‘return one copy to me, keeping the other for your files’
      • ‘It seems people love to hoard them and keep them for the future.’
      • ‘Are you keeping a reserve of under-worked staff on roll to tap into, in the event of an upswing?’
      • ‘The fact that they were twice baked and very dry meant that they could be kept for long periods and were well adapted for use by travellers.’
      • ‘Even so, advisers recommend taking photographs of valuable possessions and keeping receipts for as many things as possible.’
      • ‘Three crops a year are harvested to provide enough rice for the population, and the government keeps surpluses stored for times of drought.’
      • ‘Some messages are important and need to be kept for future reference.’
      • ‘Most tax advisers recommend keeping copies of your returns and supporting documents for at least six years.’
      • ‘Other ‘surplus money’ was being kept aside for classroom improvements, said Mr Jackson.’
      • ‘She added that the 150000 that was set aside in the estimates should be kept in reserve for phase two.’
      • ‘Regular use of bronchodilators should therefore be avoided and should be kept in reserve for breakthrough wheezing.’
      • ‘This powder can be kept for long periods of time and is taken along on a journey.’
      • ‘I hope someone is planning to keep this stuff for future historians.’
      • ‘Do you think it is appropriate to keep skeletons for future scientific work?’
      • ‘Less data is being deleted and more data is being kept for longer periods of time.’
      • ‘The records belong to the city and are kept in trust for future generations.’
      retain, hold on to, keep for oneself, retain possession of, keep possession of, retain in one's possession, keep hold of, not part with, hold fast to, hold back
      reserve, keep in reserve, put by, save, save up, store up, put aside, lay aside, set aside, hoard, treasure
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Put or store in a regular place.
      ‘the stand where her umbrella was kept’
      • ‘Plants kept on the windowsill will benefit from hardening off before they are planted out.’
      • ‘The letters, totalling 52 pages, were found in the west of Ireland about 30 years ago and kept in a safe ever since.’
      • ‘Mr Caswell kept some furniture and clothing at the flat but did not live there.’
      • ‘It would appear that somebody knew he kept money in his house.’
      • ‘The books are lovingly maintained, and kept on shelves behind a protective screen.’
      • ‘An intricately carved wooden table is kept in between the plush sofas.’
      • ‘The other guys in your unit keep pinching your bike for odd jobs throughout the day, and you wouldn't mind keeping it stored underneath a desk.’
      • ‘If the fern is planted in a pot and kept in semi shade or even in a place where it gets some more sunlight, you will soon find the plant spreading around.’
      • ‘Everyone else decided to lounge around the living room where the beautiful sofas were kept.’
      • ‘Spread your possessions about - keep your money and mobile phone separate.’
      • ‘If luck was needed, Stewart had that covered, too, courtesy of his mascot Fred - a toy skeleton that he kept in his glove bag.’
      • ‘It's usually kept on one particular shelf, but when he asked me for it, I looked, and it was gone.’
      • ‘Saddles were carefully kept in a spare stall and bridles were precisely suspended in the correct places.’
      • ‘National service is compulsory and all adult males are members of the Army Reserve, keeping a rifle at home.’
      • ‘She pulled and guided her horse to the barn where the saddles were kept, moving swiftly as she worked.’
      • ‘Frustratingly for the family it was the first time they had stored the bikes inside the shed after previously keeping them inside the house.’
      • ‘Bags are a girl's best friend, allowing women to keep their must-have possessions close at hand.’
      • ‘A second briefcase was kept under the White House in a secret bunker in case of nuclear attack.’
      • ‘A key safe is a secure box, opened by keying in a secret number, that is kept outside your house.’
      • ‘This manuscript is on the shelf where only books by family members are kept.’
      store, house, stow, keep a place for, put away, place, put, deposit, stack, pile
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  • 2Continue or cause to continue in a specified condition, position, course, etc.

    [no object, with complement] ‘I kept quiet while Emily talked on’
    ‘keep left along the wall’
    [with object and complement] ‘she might be kept alive artificially by machinery’
    • ‘His condition became so bad he had to be kept alive on a ventilator.’
    • ‘We have to do what needs to be done in order to keep our secrets safe.’
    • ‘No longer can they depend upon their mother to feed them or protect them, or keep them warm.’
    • ‘Bella didn't know what to say to that, so she kept silent.’
    • ‘It was used in the days before refrigerators to keep food cool and store ice blocks gathered in winter.’
    • ‘She keeps the house clean and beautifully arranged.’
    • ‘More hybrids are expected in the near future and competition should keep prices realistic.’
    • ‘The miracle of modern medicine may keep a loved one alive despite a terminal condition.’
    • ‘The thick layer of leaves keeps the ground relatively wet, so Bob usually waits until June to plow the leaves under and then plant hay.’
    • ‘For security reasons, however, the exact location of the deposits is kept secret for the time being.’
    • ‘The cemetery has been kept in excellent condition over the past number of years and it is hoped that this will be the case again this year.’
    • ‘The exact location of the cave will be kept secret to protect the art, which is in pristine condition.’
    • ‘Keeping all his constituents happy is an all but impossible task.’
    • ‘Food that needs to be kept fresh can be stored in containers too, meaning less plastic wrap or foil is needed.’
    • ‘He cannot even walk on his own and he is barely kept alive by a variety of mechanical devices.’
    • ‘The continuing cold weather has kept mildew levels very low.’
    • ‘But for some prisoners a good book can be the only thing keeping them sane.’
    • ‘She will also need some reassurance that in future she will be kept safe and that such an event will not repeat itself.’
    • ‘The wardens would also have had a general duty of care to keep the area clear of litter to help improve the look of the site.’
    • ‘The beaches are always kept in a pristine condition by the many vendors who are there to look after all your needs.’
    remain, continue to be, stay, carry on being, go on being, persist in being, not cease to be
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    1. 2.1[no object, with present participle]Continue doing or do repeatedly.
      ‘he keeps going on about the murder’
      • ‘He is half the size of some of the others but he is so tough and such a good jumper that he keeps winning.’
      • ‘The managers thought she was up to something, after she kept screwing up repeatedly.’
      • ‘We like the idea of that because it reminds us to think of the future rather than keep looking to the past.’
      • ‘He kept repeating the same thing, that it had nothing to do with him.’
      • ‘The doctor just keeps telling me the lab results are normal.’
      • ‘The Blues kept digging deep trying to keep themselves in contention.’
      • ‘She kept repeating it over and over, like I'd asked her to drive me to Uranus or the Arctic Circle.’
      • ‘But as the Federal Reserve keeps raising rates, such buys become less attractive.’
      • ‘I'd need a thesaurus handy just to make sure I don't keep repeating myself.’
      • ‘I had to keep telling myself to stay focused and remain calm through this whole ordeal.’
      • ‘The strange message kept being repeated over and over again for about 15 seconds at 1.55 am each day.’
      • ‘Like a gramophone stuck on a groove, he kept asking me why Wen shouted at him.’
      • ‘There was an adorable little boy living next door to us, who would keep saying hello repeatedly until we said hello back.’
      • ‘He was always determined to be modern; not to repeat himself but to keep pushing boundaries.’
      • ‘As I pulled up in the car park, a wasp launched itself at the windscreen and kept repeatedly battering itself against the glass.’
      • ‘We need to keep picking up points to stay clear of the relegation zone.’
      • ‘We kept driving, past cedar thickets and a pasture studded with blooming prickly pear cactus.’
      • ‘It is important to keep looking to the future.’
      • ‘I have some biggish plans for an upgrade in the very near future, so keep checking back.’
      • ‘They were asked to put forward a defence but kept delaying it.’
      persist in, go on, keep on, carry on, continue, do something constantly, do something incessantly, do something continually, not stop doing something, persevere
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    2. 2.2[no object](of a perishable commodity) remain in good condition.
      ‘hominy will keep almost indefinitely without spoilage’
      • ‘It keeps very well if stood upright in a jug containing a little water, and refrigerated.’
      • ‘This product does not keep, and is mainly produced in the autumn and winter.’
      • ‘The nice thing about ginger is that it keeps well.’
      • ‘The batter keeps in the fridge for up to a month; when you're ready to enjoy, just pour it into a tin, bake and you've got a hot muffin in about 25 minutes.’
      • ‘The mix keeps for two to three months at room temperature.’
      • ‘Pasta will keep for months in the cupboard.’
      • ‘Shelf life varies from product to product, but most items will keep, if stored properly, for a minimum of one month.’
    3. 2.3[with object]Retain one's place in or on (a seat or saddle, the ground, etc.) in spite of difficulty.
      ‘can you keep your saddle, or shall I carry you on a pillion?’
      • ‘She swayed from side to side upon the animal's broad back, and her ruddy face was redder than usual with the effort of keeping her seat.’
      • ‘Tamora kept her seat, one hand free to wield her sword with unnervingly good aim.’
      • ‘Her arms flailed up and around in a desperate and truly valiant bid to keep her seat.’
      • ‘Deirdre kept her ground and the clashing of metal against metal was heard as she blocked his attack.’
      • ‘He kept his ground as his attacker walked towards him.’
    4. 2.4British [no object, with adverbial]Be in a specified state of health.
      ‘he had not been keeping well’
      • ‘We have all been keeping well.’
      • ‘My mother did not keep very good health, so we had a charwoman who came in to do the cleaning.’
      • ‘Mother kept very unwell the greater part of the way.’
      • ‘For a man who spends so much time in the gym and out on the golf course, he contrives to keep remarkably poor health.’
    5. 2.5[with object]Cause to be late; delay.
      ‘I won't keep you, I know you've got a busy evening’
      • ‘‘I don't want to keep you,’ she apologized. ‘Guess you'd best get outside.’’
      • ‘She smiled graciously and said, ‘I mustn't keep you’ and she was gone.’
      • ‘You must be quick, and not keep me long.’
      detain, cause to stay, cause to wait, keep waiting, keep back, hold back, restrain
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    6. 2.6[with object and present participle]Make (someone) do something for a period of time.
      ‘I have kept her waiting too long’
      • ‘I didn't want to be responsible for what might happen if I kept him waiting any longer.’
      • ‘He kept me waiting at the counter, having forgotten that there was meant to be an author around.’
      • ‘And keeping people waiting is part of what stardom is about, which is why he showed up over half an hour late without anyone seeming to mind.’
      • ‘He apologised for keeping me waiting (although it was our photographer who had delayed him) and swiftly swept away his papers to make way for me.’
      • ‘They then kept me waiting for 20 minutes while they obviously checked out my story.’
      • ‘The man who created some of the most memorable images of the Sixties arrives early for his interview, then apologises for keeping me waiting.’
      • ‘I did not wish to anger the King any more by keeping him waiting.’
      • ‘You may have guessed that this is not the first time that he kept me waiting.’
      • ‘I was also glad that she hadn't kept me waiting since the sky was overcast and it was slightly chilly.’
      • ‘I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, but I was setting up a delicate experiment in the observatory.’
      • ‘The company kept us waiting for the better part of an hour, but finally their vehicle arrived.’
      • ‘He enters, apologises bluntly for keeping us waiting, and says he's extremely busy, so let's get on with it.’
      • ‘The waitresses ran a fairly slick and professional service, neither keeping us waiting nor hovering for our orders before we were ready.’
      • ‘That might not have mattered, except that they kept me waiting for about 20 minutes.’
      • ‘My most sincere apologies for keeping you waiting so long!’
      • ‘She kept me waiting for what felt like an eternity but was probably about 15/20 minutes.’
      • ‘They kept me waiting for nearly two hours and then I was taken into an office and told to empty my pockets.’
      • ‘It's a habit he shares with many film producers: he keeps less important mortals waiting, and arrives an hour after our interview was scheduled.’
      • ‘He certainly kept us waiting but he got there in the end.’
      • ‘She could see he was upset so she walked up to him, hugged him and apologized for keeping him waiting.’
    7. 2.7archaic Continue to follow (a path or course)
      ‘the soldiers removed, keeping their course towards Jericho’
      • ‘They kept the track, and rolled off mile after mile before daylight in an effort to catch up to the leaders.’
      • ‘Our protection was speed and keeping a zig-zag course.’
      • ‘Still further westward on they keep their way.’
      • ‘Keeping their course on the north side of the lake until they reached its head, they started up the mountain.’
  • 3Provide for the sustenance of (someone)

    ‘he had to keep his large family in the manner he had chosen’
    • ‘All the families of the O'Reilly's Club kept a player each in their home, cooked for them and looked after them well.’
    • ‘My mother had to sell me as she could not afford to keep me any longer.’
    • ‘Mrs. Brown had been unable to keep her children and had given her two little girls away.’
    • ‘He worked hard to keep his family - like everybody else.’
    • ‘It describes a man who has done everything he possibly can to save his job and keep his family in the way that they have expected to live.’
    provide for, support, provide food for, provide sustenance for, provide board for, feed, keep alive, maintain, sustain, subsidize, finance
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1Provide (someone) with a regular supply of a commodity.
      ‘the money should keep him in cigarettes for a week’
      • ‘When Ellen was ill friends kept the family supplied with soup, eggs, jellies and wine.’
      • ‘You will also need a support team, involving two drivers to transport you and your equipment around the country as well as keeping the team supplied with plenty of food and water.’
      • ‘But let's not forget the stores that kept the rest of Manchester's population in clothes.’
      • ‘It is this large distribution network that keeps our first-hand bookshops in fresh stock.’
      • ‘My mother keeps me well in stock of incense, candles, charcoal blocks, and altar covers.’
      • ‘But, above all, it has kept me supplied with the materials essential to my trade as a historian.’
      • ‘There was Bill Amon who also kept bees and kept us supplied in honey - that's how I got my love of honey.’
      • ‘Our stocks were wiped out on the first day and it was a full time job keeping the children supplied with their favourite which was bananas.’
      • ‘His wife kept him supplied with beers and food, and there he sat, happy as a hippo in a waterhole.’
      • ‘Apart from keeping us supplied with bread, fruit and hot drinks, the Prodive staff would change our cylinders for us, and I was impressed by the care they took with our cameras.’
      • ‘I can only hope she was kept well supplied with all the little comforts she missed.’
      • ‘We always planted a ridge of turnips and a ridge of cabbage to keep us supplied with vegetables.’
      • ‘Fred proved to be an excellent sponsor, keeping me stocked with all the spare parts I needed.’
    2. 3.2Own and look after (an animal) for pleasure or profit.
      ‘they raised pigs and kept a pony or two’
      • ‘The animal bones indicated that large quantities of sheep were kept, with some cattle and pig.’
      • ‘The foundation provides homes for retired racehorses and keeps horses at farms in ten states, including Kentucky, Florida, and New York.’
      • ‘He keeps pigs, cattle and sheep and does not look after the animals himself, contracting out all the mucky work.’
      • ‘Twenty or so acres can be useful for keeping horses or ponies and does carry a certain prestige.’
      • ‘But the RSPCA and other leading animal welfare groups advise people not to keep exotic pets.’
      • ‘Although it is true to say that keeping pigs as pets has been extremely popular, there are not as many pet pigs around at the moment according to a pig organisation.’
      • ‘Most of his cattle, however, he keeps for milk production.’
      • ‘Mr England decided to convert the barn when the pressures on farming forced him to give up keeping pigs at his holding two years ago.’
      • ‘I remember a time when every farmer kept a pig or two for their own use.’
      • ‘To increase his income, he kept sheep and cows, did spinning and acted as a labourer when other farmers needed help.’
      • ‘The fox hunters' problem is that, because keeping a horse is a pretty expensive activity, they were always seen as some sort of financial elite.’
      • ‘It is an active farm which keeps sheep, goats and pigs and produces cork and honey.’
      • ‘I know several families who keep a couple of horses each so that they can hunt during the season.’
      • ‘He had to cycle seven miles each way to the land where the sheep were kept.’
      • ‘He also wants a proper pony track and stables for the local boys to keep their horses.’
      • ‘She has kept her horse, Callie, which is the first she has owned, at the stables since September.’
      • ‘On the other side of the village is the Exmoor Falconry and Animal Farm, which not only keeps birds of prey and Shetland ponies but also has meerkats, a couple of kookaburras, and a llama.’
      • ‘They also kept sheep, goats and cattle to add milk, butter, cheese and meat to their diet.’
      • ‘Because of the presence of the tsetse fly, large animals such as cattle and goats are not kept.’
      • ‘He said Beale was now keeping chickens and pigs, of which there had been no complaints, as well as growing strawberries.’
      breed, rear, raise, farm
      View synonyms
    3. 3.3Own and manage (a shop or business)
      ‘the big fellow keeps a fish shop near the post office’
      • ‘Isaura and her husband kept a grocery nearby, and they often stayed there late in the evenings.’
      • ‘Roger, of course, would rather take care of her and keep the shop, but puts on a cheerful face.’
      • ‘Little Nell Trent lives in the gloomy atmosphere of the old curiosity shop kept by her grandfather, whom she tends with devotion.’
      • ‘Jeremy had often told her that her father had been a merchant who kept shop near the barracks.’
      • ‘Tucked in a bazaar along a grimy street, he keeps a shop about the size of a toolshed.’
      manage, run, own, be the proprietor of, be in charge of, administer, organize, direct, keep up, maintain, operate, look after, superintend
      View synonyms
    4. 3.4Guard; protect.
      ‘his only thought is to keep the boy from harm’
      • ‘You gave him a good life and kept him from pain.’
      • ‘We would do anything to keep them from danger.’
      • ‘Traditional values are so perverted by slavery that Sethe is driven to murder her own daughter to keep her from slavery's horrors.’
      • ‘We have spent almost 16 years keeping her from harm and helping her grow and now we have to sit back and watch this person come in and abuse her.’
      preserve, protect, keep safe, afford protection to, guard, shield, shelter, save, safeguard, secure, defend
      tend, look after, care for, take care of, mind, watch over, have charge of, be responsible for
      View synonyms
    5. 3.5Support (someone, especially a woman) financially in return for sexual favours.
      ‘he was keeping a woman on the side’
      • ‘He was a clever sociopath who owned three properties and kept different women at each.’
      • ‘At one stage she was told no woman editor in London would touch her novel with a barge pole because it was so unfashionable to have a story about a kept woman.’
      • ‘He kept another woman, by whom he had two children.’
  • 4Honour or fulfil (a commitment or undertaking)

    ‘I'll keep my promise, naturally’
    • ‘‘This is about keeping a commitment, delivering promises and being true to our convictions,’ he said.’
    • ‘This is the work not of months, but of years and keeping these commitments is essential to our future security.’
    • ‘The company kept its pledge to launch the services which will allow always-on internet access of over mobile handsets by the end of the year.’
    • ‘We've made foolish promises, and it wouldn't be right to overburden those future younger workers by keeping them.’
    • ‘Four years after a South Yorkshire council was blasted for failing to work on stopping benefit fraud, it has come under fire again for not keeping its promises to improve.’
    • ‘Pharmaceutical companies now had to keep their promises and negotiate honestly, she said.’
    • ‘She was accused of failing to keep her promise to work with the aviation industry to improve the choice of destinations.’
    • ‘We wanted to find out whether Britain and the West are keeping the pledges we made.’
    • ‘An irregular churchgoer before September, the woman who prayed for a miracle and got one is now keeping her end of the bargain.’
    • ‘For all these years, I kept my promise and never looked into the box under our bed.’
    • ‘The men will not be allowed to leave the remote centre and must also keep a vow of complete silence for six months.’
    • ‘Even as she said it, she knew that she could not guarantee herself that she would keep that oath.’
    • ‘However, if he also keeps the commitment to buy new helicopters from Eurocopter, this will mean that in a couple of years Bulgaria will have 36 machines.’
    • ‘It also results from engineers being conscientious people who are serious about keeping their commitments.’
    • ‘You took an oath to defend the nation, and you kept that oath overseas and under fire.’
    • ‘Catherine always said that if she won the prize she would take her mother with her, so she has kept her promise.’
    • ‘He represents a party that is short on policy, short on commitment, and seriously short on keeping any promises that it made during the election.’
    • ‘How far am I expected to travel so you can say you kept your promise?’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the budget at the club has been slashed and the manager left because pledges were not kept.’
    • ‘She can leave home only to get to her office job, to keep legal or health appointments.’
    comply with, obey, respect, observe, conform to, abide by, stick to, act in accordance with, act according to, have regard to, heed, follow, pay attention to, defer to, take notice of
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    1. 4.1Observe (a religious occasion) in the prescribed manner.
      ‘today's consumers do not keep the Sabbath’
      • ‘Not once in the New Testament are we told to keep the Sabbath.’
      • ‘Some kept all the Holy Days and some kept only Passover.’
      • ‘They were once so numerous that the town kept the feast of St Crispin on October 25, patron saint of cobblers.’
      observe, respect, honour, hold sacred, recognize, acknowledge
      View synonyms
    2. 4.2Pay due regard to (a law or custom)
      ‘if you kept small rules, you could break the big ones’
      • ‘We can dedicate more resources to keep our traditions that might be lost otherwise.’
      • ‘Thus far we have seen only part of what he meant when he said that Christians should keep the whole law.’
      • ‘According to my teachers, only Catholics who kept the commandments had a real shot at Heaven.’
      • ‘Paul and the Jesus of the gospels reject the belief that keeping the Jewish law is necessary for salvation.’
      • ‘Because no one keeps the whole Law, everyone who lives by the Law must be under a curse.’
      • ‘Our experience in Ireland is that the only thing that really works in terms of drivers keeping the law is fear.’
      • ‘When we think of observing the law, of keeping the commandments, it is the will that first comes to mind.’
      • ‘We have kept that tradition for 1,600 years and we should be proud of it, he added.’
      • ‘We are not saved by keeping the law, or by doing good works, or by adhering to church doctrine.’
      • ‘The Gentiles or unbeliever is able to keep the moral law because they are made in the image of God.’
      • ‘Smaller, lighter and faster, it keeps the tradition of luxury.’
      • ‘We are free and tolerant in our private lives, but in public affairs we keep the law.’
      • ‘They were redeemed, not because they kept the law but because they received the promise.’
      • ‘If they kept these laws they were going to be victorious and happy in their promised land.’
      • ‘Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle.’
      • ‘He thought that to be ‘good’ he had to keep the rules and respect the law of God.’
      • ‘So for instance, the lyre bird is the storyteller of the bush, not only because it doesn't have a voice of its own, but because it keeps the law.’
      • ‘For Pharisees, holiness was achieved, in part, by rigorously keeping the law.’
      • ‘Every week religious Jews observe the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day, and keep its laws and customs.’
      • ‘Such a man obeys my commands and carefully keeps my laws.’
      observe, respect, honour, hold sacred, recognize, acknowledge
      View synonyms
  • 5Make written entries in (a diary) on a regular basis.

    ‘the master kept a weekly journal’
    • ‘I kept a diary through much of my teenage years, although it was a bit intermittent.’
    • ‘This fascination with themselves results in keeping diaries or writing poetry.’
    • ‘Nicole used the site to write poems and kept a diary of her treatment there.’
    • ‘It is said that while he was inside, Watson kept a diary and that it may now be written up for publication.’
    • ‘There are many possible reasons for keeping a diary and they range from pathological nostalgia to a prudent desire to possess a record of work done and objectives accomplished.’
    • ‘You may not be used to keeping a diary or journal, and perhaps feel unsure of how to best start.’
    • ‘Some of us remember keeping our own diary as children.’
    • ‘Periodically Ian kept a diary, each entry scribbled in pencil.’
    • ‘So, turn off that TV and start keeping a diary, a journal or, best of all, a blog.’
    • ‘I used to keep a paper journal back then.’
    • ‘As a kid, or as a grown up, did you keep a diary writing up what you did everyday?’
    • ‘I've been keeping this diary now for four months.’
    • ‘In a practice common among schizophrenics, he keeps a notebook, writing in hieroglyphs that are only comprehensible to him.’
    • ‘He writes long letters to his estranged wife and keeps a diary.’
    • ‘From the age of four, when he was taught to write by his governess, he kept a diary.’
    • ‘During World War II Anne Frank, a Jewish girl in Amsterdam, kept a diary of the time she lived in.’
    • ‘She also writes poetry and has kept a diary since she was 9 years-old.’
    • ‘Like most working class children, he was illiterate and kept no diary or written record of his life.’
    • ‘Ever since I decided to move into a new town, I thought keeping a diary of everyday events would be an interesting exercise.’
    • ‘My mother, who died when I was born, kept a diary every day from her eleventh birthday until she married.’
    1. 5.1Write down as (a record)
      ‘keep a note of each item’
      • ‘The children were asked to participate in the summer reading scheme and the library have kept a record of all books read.’
      • ‘The UK scheme keeps records for every employee's full working life.’
      • ‘Most of my novels were written while I was in full-time employment, and I kept records of the amount of time I spent on them.’
      • ‘She still keeps records charting every penny she spends and she is worried.’
      • ‘It does not keep a record of how many households use the permits.’
      • ‘In desperation, Novalee camps in the Wal-Mart store, keeping a tally of all the food and goods she has borrowed.’
      • ‘There are two things for me that we will discuss as a panel, as we will discuss absolutely everything, because we have kept a record of what you have said.’
      • ‘During this era, people tended to write everything down and keep accurate records of events.’
      • ‘The gas firm was also found to have been keeping inadequate records of the state of its pipe distribution network.’
      • ‘The experts demanded to know whether they had been keeping proper records of their excavations.’
      • ‘I would have to spend two or three nights a week on keeping records and form filling.’
      • ‘Employers must keep records for at least three years to show that workers were paid the national minimum wage.’
      • ‘We have a terrible time in keeping accurate records of community members.’
      • ‘As I always do when I travel, I kept a record of what we saw and did, but putting Iceland into words is not easy.’
      • ‘Pupils will be keeping an on-going record of the building work as it progresses.’
      • ‘He keeps a record of the news that has appeared about him in print.’
      • ‘World War Two veteran Mr Rogers, 81, has kept a written record of his complaints and says he is fed up with being overlooked.’
      • ‘Owning a second home has its own tax consequences, and it is important to ensure proper, up-to-date records are kept.’
      • ‘If the problem persists it is a good idea to keep a record of the frequency and type of disturbance.’
      • ‘They should also do head counts of students rather than relying on the false records kept by the company.’


  • 1[mass noun] Food, clothes, and other essentials for living.

    ‘the Society are paying for your keep’
    • ‘Occasionally. in those days, some would be paid a wage but mostly they would work for their keep and a little pocket money.’
    • ‘At least this way they pay for their crimes and contribute something towards the cost of their keep.’
    • ‘Many men returned to work on the mills every season for many years as they got a regular wage and their keep.’
    • ‘People like us who did without to own our house as a legacy for our children have our home taken off us if we have to go into care to pay for our keep.’
    • ‘For 10 shillings a week, plus his keep, Trevor worked on the moor where Mr Middlemiss had moor rights.’
    • ‘If they were, then they would have been earning their keep and fending for themselves, like everyone else is supposed to do.’
    • ‘They had their pay and their keep and were given a quarter of a sheep to take home to feed their families.’
    • ‘That is why Greatwood is appealing for people to adopt one of the retired racehorses and contribute towards the cost of its keep.’
    maintenance, upkeep, support, sustenance, subsistence, board, board and lodging, food, nourishment, nurture
    living, livelihood, means
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The cost of the essentials for living.
      • ‘He would have played in the first team, coached the kids and earned his keep by working behind the bar and on the ground.’
      • ‘He organizes his charges to defuse land mines in order to earn their keep.’
      • ‘He earned his keep cleaning the shoes and rooms of upper-class students.’
      • ‘Once upon a time we may have been loss leaders; but now, we are expected to earn our keep.’
      • ‘It wasn't a woman's place to own a farm, but a girl was expected to earn her keep by working on the family farm.’
      • ‘While earning his keep as a waiter in Covent Garden, Norton took a place at Central School of Art and Drama.’
      • ‘These people are entitled to protection and should not be forced to earn their keep.’
      • ‘He earned his keep in university by running a bookmaking operation out of his back pocket.’
      • ‘Work was to be created for those who were sufficiently fit to be able to contribute towards their own keep.’
      • ‘Even Web sites with a noble mission to restore a sense of community now have to earn their keep.’
      • ‘But to our ancestors, kids were an addition to the family workforce and had to earn their keep.’
      • ‘Now they have to earn their keep - and, as far as we are concerned, they are not doing so.’
      • ‘For the next four decades Norris usually earned his keep working as a fisherman.’
  • 2archaic [mass noun] Charge; control.

    ‘if from shepherd's keep a lamb strayed far’
    • ‘I was filled with gratitude that these beautiful children are in my keep.’
    safe keeping, care, custody, charge, possession, trust, protection, safeguard
    View synonyms
  • 3The strongest or central tower of a castle, acting as a final refuge.

    • ‘Whereas motte and bailey castles were surrounded by a wooden fence, the stone keeps could rely on outer walls made of stone (curtain walls).’
    • ‘Its most remarkable feature is that the large keep is itself protected by further curtain walls.’
    • ‘In stone keep castles, keeps were much higher than any other part of the castle.’
    • ‘It is crowned with a stone shell keep of about 1300, which replaced a timber predecessor.’
    • ‘The keep in stone encircled from the full water ditch that we see today was built at this time.’
    • ‘Kids will love the medieval keep, with its spiral staircases, and dim lighting.’
    • ‘This Great Hall was the social centre for the inhabitants of the inner keep.’
    • ‘The never completed keep is a great round tower divided by a moat from the inner curtain that curves inward to avoid it.’
    • ‘Even the gateways leading into old keeps and castles don't escape the over-enthusiasm of some amateur restorers.’
    • ‘In a few places great stone keeps were begun, best known of which is the Tower of London.’
    • ‘She had been stuck in that horrible keep for the last four years of her life.’
    • ‘Manors and even small keeps abound in the highlands, not tourist attractions but still noble family estates.’
    fortress, fort, stronghold, tower, donjon, castle, citadel, bastion, fortification, fastness
    hold, dungeon
    View synonyms


  • you can't keep a good man (or woman) down

    • informal A competent person will always recover well from setbacks.

      • ‘He had a bad day at the office on Monday, but you can't keep a good man down for long.’
      • ‘There's an age old adage however that says you can't keep a good man down, and while even some of his closest allies feared that defeat would end his career in public life Oliver Coffey had other ideas.’
      • ‘Attorney General John Ashcroft rushed back from gall-bladder surgery this week - you can't keep a good man down - to announce that the Department of Justice will set up a special Intellectual Property Task Force.’
      • ‘We should have known that you can't keep a good man down.’
      • ‘But you know what they say - you can't keep a good man down.’
      • ‘He was on the receiving end of three pushes but you can't keep a good man down.’
      • ‘But you can't keep a good man down: Jack got on that plane and contested the Vegas tournaments with two broken ribs, a punctured lung and a metal plate in his wrist.’
      • ‘Like they say, you can't keep a good man down and the cream always rises to the top.’
      • ‘Well, you can't keep a good man down and he's back, again.’
      • ‘It's true that McNabb started the 2003 season in horrible fashion, but you can't keep a good man down forever, especially when he has the moves and the arm of this quarterback.’
  • for keeps

    • informal Permanently; indefinitely.

      ‘they'll have to give us the trophy for keeps if we win it again’
      • ‘It's symptomatic of this disposable mentality society where nothing's for keeps and everything can be changed.’
      • ‘I was tempted to ask if she'd like to stay for keeps.’
      • ‘One has to use a nearby church hall for classes: the other has reverted to portable buildings in the playground that they hoped had gone for keeps.’
      • ‘Once they are married, however, it's usually for keeps.’
      • ‘If there had been any doubt, however, he now knows he is not there for keeps.’
      • ‘But once the final payment has gone, the car is yours for keeps.’
      • ‘I think she went into that marriage for keeps, and it's taken her a long time to get to the stage where she realises that the other person didn't.’
      • ‘My life's been hard, I don't trust people easily, but when I do, it's for keeps.’
      • ‘If an individual has won refugee status, that is theirs for keeps unless they break the law.’
      • ‘Well, as the saying goes - wherever it came from in the first place - if you love someone, set her free; if she comes back to you, she is for keeps, if not, it was never meant to be.’
      forever, for ever, for all time, for ever and ever, for always, once and for all, for good, for good and all, permanently, in perpetuity
      until kingdom come, until hell freezes over, until doomsday
      for aye
      View synonyms
  • keep one's feet

    • Manage not to fall.

      ‘on the planked railway crossing she stumbled, but kept her feet’
      • ‘A few of the players were not keeping their feet, but it was better once we got used to it.’
      • ‘She almost tripped over herself, but managed to keep her feet.’
      • ‘Unable to keep his feet, he fell backward, into the icy cold water of the bay.’
      • ‘Outside the harbor, the waves were high enough that we had to grip the bowlines to keep our feet.’
      • ‘He can take on two or three people and, when you think he's going to lose balance, somehow keep his feet and beat the goalkeeper.’
      • ‘Jessie managed to keep her feet and offered him a hand back up.’
      • ‘Players were finding it very hard to keep their feet.’
      • ‘He managed to keep his feet for a few seconds, then tumbled forward into the dirt.’
      • ‘I kept my feet and met her straight on as she came at me.’
      • ‘It's hard enough to keep your feet with only a pack and a rifle on your back.’
  • keep goal

    • Act as a goalkeeper.

      • ‘Project manager for the event, Nick Lodge, put his football skills to the test by keeping goal in a penalty shoot-out.’
      • ‘As a young keeper with Preston he was earmarked as one of the brightest prospects outside the Premiership with one national magazine going as far as predicting that he would be keeping goal for England at the 2008 World Cup.’
      • ‘The former pupil of St Christopher's High School, Accrington, has won scholarships to play in America and now keeps goal for Everton FC.’
      • ‘By this Christmas he will have been five years keeping goal with Rangers, a span that will equal that of Chris Woods.’
      • ‘If your job is to keep goal for a high-profile team you have to be prepared to take the criticism.’
  • keep going

    • Make an effort to live normally in spite of difficulty.

      ‘she had to keep going for the sake of her boys’
      • ‘Through rich and more barren times, he has kept going, backing up his albums with frequent touring.’
      • ‘We could have kept going, but we would have just got worse and worse as time went on.’
      • ‘Through all of this he kept going and now the new school is ready to open.’
      • ‘She suffered quite badly with heart problems recently but she kept going.’
      • ‘With much determination in our eyes and sweat on our brows, we kept going.’
      • ‘He kept going through decidedly lean periods by remaining true to himself as a player and a person.’
      • ‘It definitely gives us the confident start we need to keep going and continue to be healthy.’
      • ‘Even when the equipment started melting, and they got burns to their arms, they kept going.’
  • keep it real

    • informal Be genuine, unaffected, or honest.

      ‘whatever you do, keep it real’
      ‘he kept it real and I found him charming’
  • keep to oneself

    • Avoid contact with others.

      ‘they kept to themselves and were a source of mystery and speculation’
      • ‘The younger ones, by contrast, kept to themselves more, talking intensely in quiet voices and casting a chilly eye on strangers.’
      • ‘Living as she did in a colony where the neighbors kept to themselves, she was virtually a prisoner within her home.’
      • ‘He spoke with a few villagers but mostly kept to himself.’
      • ‘I had the attacks several times a month and tried desperately to prevent them by keeping to myself and avoiding any social situations.’
      • ‘Neighbours said he kept to himself but would always say hello.’
      • ‘She said her brother, the eldest of nine children, was a man who kept to himself.’
      • ‘Hidden from civilisation and resisting all attempts at contact, they had kept to themselves.’
      • ‘I kept to myself for most of the morning, hoping to avoid everyone else.’
      • ‘‘They were genuinely nice, kept to themselves and were always seen out walking together,’ said one local.’
      • ‘They have been avoiding the whole Los Angeles scene, preferring to keep to themselves.’
  • keep something to oneself

    • Refuse to disclose or share something.

      ‘he was determined to keep the information to himself’
      • ‘Rachael kept the dream to herself and never shared it with anyone.’
      • ‘If he had negative opinions, he usually kept them to himself.’
      • ‘He kept his disappointments to himself, a quiet murmur of disapproval usually being as far as it went.’
      • ‘Until recently, the common practice of governments was still to keep all information to themselves.’
      • ‘Often we artists are a solitary lot, preferring to keep our work to ourselves until we deem it fit for sharing.’
      • ‘If it is a view shared by staff and players, they are keeping it to themselves.’
      • ‘She was pregnant, but kept the information to herself.’
      • ‘She kept it to herself, because it was too hard to share.’
      • ‘If they had troubles, they kept them to themselves, setting a pattern for the rest of their lives.’
      • ‘I think our intelligence officers have the information but they keep it to themselves.’
  • keep up with the joneses

    • Try to emulate or not be outdone by one's neighbours.

      • ‘Keeping up with the Joneses in recent weeks has been a hectic affair.’
      • ‘I would presume it to mean ‘keeping up with the times, keeping up with the Joneses, or being ahead of everybody else’.’
      • ‘There is an element of keeping up with the Joneses, where people are constantly looking at their neighbours to see how they are doing.’
      • ‘Everyone in Wiltshire is going to have trouble keeping up with the Joneses after a newly married couple picked up a Lotto cheque for £2,271, 988 last week.’
      • ‘It is a sick kind of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses.’’
      • ‘You are bombarded with this stuff - money will make you happy, and keeping up with the Joneses.’
      • ‘If you are guilty of the sin of jealousy, you have this redeeming feature: you want what your neighbor has so much that you will struggle to keep up with the Joneses.’
      • ‘Crikey's rugby correspondent Wally Flanker is back from catching up with the Joneses at Cardiff Arms Park - and when Wales takes on England, is there a better atmosphere in a sporting event anywhere in the world?’
      • ‘Keeping up with the Joneses here means having the biggest, juiciest tomatoes in your garden.’
      • ‘Keeping up with the Joneses acquired new connotations.’
      competitiveness, competition, contention, vying
      View synonyms
      • ‘People don't need to replace their car on a regular basis except for the purpose of keeping up with the Joneses.’
      • ‘Employing a designer, meanwhile, is often perceived as an expensive luxury indulged in by ladies who lunch and those intent on keeping up with the Joneses.’
      • ‘At the turn of the century these families were engaged in a battle to "keep up with the Joneses."’
      • ‘To many folks, filling the home with more stuff or keeping up with the Joneses is no longer appealing.’
      • ‘Failing to spend less than we earn, living beyond our means, and keeping up with the Joneses have all contributed toward our debt problem.’
      • ‘Keeping up with the Joneses in recent weeks has been a hectic affair.’
      • ‘"We're focusing our efforts on trying to keep up with the Joneses," Russell said.’
      • ‘I suppose everyone else has one, so they're keeping up with the Joneses.’
      • ‘Too many clients are trying to keep up with the Joneses.’
      • ‘It's not easy keeping up with the Joneses.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • keep someone after

    • Make a pupil stay at school after normal hours as a punishment.

  • keep at (or keep someone at)

    • Persist (or force someone to persist) with.

      ‘it was the best part of a day's work but I kept at it’
      • ‘I'd get to these points where I wanted to stop but he kept me at it.’
      • ‘He was dedicated, and he was focused, and he kept at it year after year after year.’
      • ‘I think they're all very smart people, that are very good at something a lot of people can't even comprehend, and I think that kind of drive keeps them at what they do.’
      • ‘The job would get done, if we kept at it.’
      • ‘I kept at the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until I heard the doorbell ring and a policeman came in.’
      persevere with, persist with, be persistent in, keep going with, keep on at, be pertinacious in, show determination in, be resolute in, be steadfast in, not give up, not cease from, not falter in, carry on with, press on with, work away at, continue with, see through, struggle on with
      stick at, soldier on with, slave away at, peg away at, plug away at, hammer away at, bash on with, plough through
      View synonyms
  • keep away (or keep someone away)

    • Stay away (or make someone stay away)

      ‘keep away from the edge of the cliff’
      • ‘I have kept him away from mirrors so he could not see how bad it was.’
      • ‘Another pastime that has kept me away from the keyboard is a fascinating book I've been reading.’
      • ‘His father taught him at home and kept him away from children his age.’
      • ‘The fact is, you were kept away from the public for two years.’
      • ‘After the airport reception, the contestants were whisked to their hotel where they have been kept away from the press.’
      • ‘Parents took their children out of classes last Tuesday and kept them away for the rest of the week in protest against the school's dilapidated condition.’
      • ‘Shopping online or by mail order keeps you away from some of the holiday's most aggravating situations - crowded stores and streets.’
      • ‘It's hard enough to try to raise your kids right and keep them away from drugs without someone slipping this into my kids' daily round of subliminal nudging.’
      • ‘In fact the Orange parade used to gather at the bottom of our road and my mother even kept us away from the window.’
      • ‘Although his record promotions and concert tours kept Joe away from Ireland a lot, he never forgot his home following and played the dancehall circuit to capacity audiences throughout the 80s.’
      stay away, keep away, be absent, withdraw, retire, take one's leave, remove oneself, slip away, take oneself off, abscond
      View synonyms
  • keep back (or keep someone/thing back)

    • Remain (or cause someone or something to remain) at a distance.

      ‘he had kept back from the river when he could’
      • ‘Standing, he meant to go after the man, but Brad laid a gentle but restraining hand on his shoulder, keeping him back.’
      • ‘Cardiff fans were segregated at the match, and afterwards kept back while Leeds fans dispersed.’
      • ‘He tried to get in again, covering his face with a T-shirt, but again the flames kept him back.’
      • ‘Police cordoned off the area to keep people back and the bus station remained closed following the accident.’
      • ‘The captain of the Carpathia, however, had heard ‘no such stories’ about men being kept back from the lifeboats at gunpoint.’
      • ‘It was lucky that the windows are double-glazed as they kept back the flames for a few minutes.’
      • ‘The water had risen too high, and the levees just were not strong enough to keep it back.’
      • ‘The media cordon is set up relatively close to the building, stepping back, keeping us back only about 50 to 75 metres.’
      • ‘They were kept back by hundreds of police.’
      • ‘He was escorted by more than 50 police officers back to the community to re-enact the crime, but there were not enough officers to keep back the angry crowd who wanted immediate revenge.’
  • keep someone back

    • Make a pupil repeat a year at school because of poor marks.

      ‘she had been kept back a year’
      • ‘His sister, also a sophomore (because she had been kept back in grade school), has a 3.6 GPA and is a leader in her Bible-studies group.’
      • ‘Kids who fail the test are kept back a grade.’
      • ‘Teachers threatened to keep kids back a year if they failed… and they did?’
      • ‘Consider keeping him back a year in school to allow him more time to develop the underlying abilities that he may need to avoid making him overly frustrated.’
      • ‘Authority's remedy, if you spent too much time out of the stream in one year, was to keep you back a class.’
      • ‘I have had many students who have been kept back a year, and they have had great success.’
  • keep something back

    • 1Retain or withhold something.

      ‘he kept back £5 for himself’
      • ‘District councillors have blamed central government cutbacks for the rise, as newly introduced funding ‘ceilings’ mean money has been kept back from many local councils.’
      • ‘The profit kept back for the firm, after tax, was just £4.48m.’
      • ‘So far everything we've kept back will have a place in the next house, even if only once a year, like Christmas decorations.’
      • ‘When the pasta is ready, drain through a colander - keeping back a bit of the water - and tip immediately onto the egg yolk- and Parmesan mix, and ensuring that 1-2 tbsp of the cooking water goes with it.’
      • ‘Although this was the amount of rations laid down by law some of the shady crews often kept back food for to sell when they reached shore.’
      • ‘Martin said some pupils had still not received their report cards, which were being kept back because they had failed to pay their school fees.’
      • ‘Patrick Scott, York's director of education, said it was tempting to assume funding was being kept back, but he suspected the truth was more complicated.’
      • ‘They have always been told that insurance companies kept back some profits from the good years to compensate for the bad ones.’
      • ‘The blunder was made in calculating how much of the grant should go to schools and how much kept back for administration.’
      • ‘Emergency services made arrangements with garages for supplies to be kept back specially for their vehicles.’
      reserve, keep in reserve, put by, save, save up, store up, put aside, lay aside, set aside, hoard, treasure
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Decline to disclose something.
        ‘she might be willing to give me the details she had kept back from Ann’
        • ‘And yet, and yet… something of yourself should always be kept back in the cop game.’
        • ‘He denied he kept back the Ernst and Young report because he did not agree with some of its findings.’
        • ‘Sorry mum, every daughter keeps a few things back y'know…’
        • ‘You know, you have to watch the behaviors, too, and see if they seem to be keeping something back.’
        • ‘I have a feeling they're keeping something back for a second series.’
        • ‘He has also discovered, through his relationship with Moore and their subsequent break-up, that he needs to keep something back.’
        • ‘I've kept this post back for a long time and altered a few key details, just in case my employers think they can identify us and use this blog as a stick with which to beat me.’
        • ‘And even if directors were found to have wrongly kept back information they could not be fined, Sir Howard said.’
        conceal, keep secret, keep hidden, hide, withhold, suppress, keep quiet about, not tell, not reveal, not divulge, hush up
        View synonyms
  • keep down

    • Stay hidden by crouching or lying down.

      ‘Keep down! There's someone coming’
      • ‘As we neared the shore we were ordered to keep down to avoid getting wounded should the enemy start shelling the incoming craft.’
      • ‘The building was full of smoke, so I held my breath, kept down low and squirted the contents of the extinguisher.’
      • ‘‘Keep down, and don't even breathe!’ I whispered.’
      • ‘I'm much taller than the children on the field and they keep hissing at me to keep down.’
  • keep someone down

    • 1Make a pupil repeat a year at school because of poor marks.

      ‘is a child who fails a year test to be kept down?’
      • ‘I was kept down at school 3 years in a row.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, by comparison with the other students, I was quite backward, and so bad at mathematics in particular that I was kept down an entire year.’
      • ‘It is extended to students somewhat forcibly, to attend morning school during the long vacation to avoid being kept down the following year.’
      • ‘I was that disruptive in class that they kept me down a level.’
    • 2Cause someone to remain in a state of oppression or subjection.

      ‘one day, it would be impossible that fine people like Philip would be kept down’
      • ‘He was out there to prove that nothing was going to keep him down and full credit to him.’
      • ‘Yes, we're suffering, yes, we're on our knees, but you're not going to keep us down.’
      • ‘Work is shown as unremitting drudgery, keeping us down and continually reminding us of our essential failure.’
      • ‘We are in no way an underdog province beneath the thumb of a national environment ministry bent on keeping us down.’
      • ‘Stop whining about how the system is keeping you down!’
      • ‘He's ticked off because he's being robbed and humiliated right now, kept down by poverty and the lack of a level playing field.’
      • ‘I used to think that all women, like most men, were kept down by the evil capitalists who controlled the country, but I never saw myself as carrying this oppressive gene.’
      • ‘Even an investigation by the Inland Revenue's special compliance unit and a brain tumour could not keep him down.’
      • ‘This was never out of any desire to see women treated with respect as equals - rather it was one way of keeping us down.’
      • ‘We live in a negative world where we are constantly bombarded with bad news, hurtful gossip and sometimes people we hold in high regard trying to keep us down all the time.’
      keep in subjection, keep in submission, hold down, keep down, keep under one's thumb, subdue, subject, suppress, repress, oppress, tyrannize over, tyrannize
      View synonyms
  • keep something down

    • 1Cause something to remain at a low level.

      ‘the population of aphids is normally kept down by other animals’
      • ‘They want flexible design, but staff costs kept down.’
      • ‘He said the fares were being kept down to reasonable levels despite the steep increase in petrol prices.’
      • ‘Like all the other high street retailers it was striving to cut costs to keep prices down and remain competitive.’
      • ‘More pay for women, better childcare and better quality workers through continuous training are the keys to keeping down unemployment in Ireland.’
      • ‘We are keeping down congestion levels and increasing dramatically the number of people who travel by public transport.’
      • ‘On the positive side, Bulgarian resourcefulness in recycling and reuse has kept down the volume of waste.’
      • ‘One other way that the cost of living could be kept down is by Government refraining from increasing taxes of any kind.’
      • ‘They had kept the noise down to an acceptable level.’
      • ‘He said that prices will be kept down even if it meant forgoing some profit.’
      • ‘The average occupancy is nine months and intensive management is the key to our success in keeping down the number of empty flats.’
    • 2Retain food or drink in one's stomach without vomiting.

      ‘all I could keep down was water’
      • ‘She eventually lost her voice and couldn't keep any food down.’
      • ‘I managed to keep the food down but didn't feel any better until I had a couple of bottles of beer early evening.’
      • ‘His stomach is a bit irritable, but he's kept down macaroni and cheese and some pretzels.’
      • ‘He was thirsty, but couldn't keep the water down after he drank it.’
      • ‘The child could keep no food down, and grew weaker by the day.’
      • ‘She had been sick before but when I rang last night they said she had kept her food down and I was able to speak to her and she seems all right.’
      • ‘His stomach had barely kept the coffee down that morning.’
      • ‘You're cold and tired because your blood pressure is low and you've been unable to keep any food down.’
      • ‘Mild nausea and occasional vomiting aren't a threat to your baby's health as long as you're able to keep some food down and drink plenty of fluids.’
      • ‘I can feel his upper body tense up as he's fighting to keep the food down, and pass him a glass of water.’
  • keep from (or keep someone from)

    • Avoid (or cause someone to avoid) doing something.

      ‘Dinah bit her lips to keep from screaming’
      • ‘Parents who speak in complete sentences will have children, by and large, who will do so, especially if they are kept from watching television and motion pictures.’
      • ‘Their parents, too, reported that the children's oral health problems kept them from playing with other kids and disrupted their sleep.’
      • ‘It's sort of like this snorting sound - loud enough to keep us from ever sleeping again, yet quiet enough not to wake the neighborhood.’
      • ‘I can't recall ever actually watching a sunrise, and I guess technically I didn't see one yesterday since the rain clouds kept us from actually seeing the sun at all.’
      • ‘If you're over 40, you remember how you thought inflation would keep you from ever finding a job.’
      • ‘Still, one wonders what has kept Faber from producing a paperback edition for so long.’
      • ‘This process was a valuable tool in breaking through the walls that kept them from understanding themselves.’
      • ‘Avoiding the person will keep you from reinforcing the feelings you have toward them.’
      • ‘Health problems kept him from traveling.’
      • ‘For example, it is particularly striking that almost half of the Hispanic Spanish speakers in this study believed that the two-way program kept them from dropping out of school.’
      prevent, stop, hinder, impede, hamper
      refrain from, stop oneself, restrain oneself from, prevent oneself from, manage not to, forbear from, resist the temptation to, forgo, avoid
      View synonyms
  • keep something from

    • 1Cause something to remain a secret from (someone)

      ‘now you know what your mother tried to keep from you’
      • ‘He was her best friend, and they never kept secrets from each other.’
      • ‘She's kept something from her, on purpose, because she was afraid it would change what she thinks of her.’
      • ‘I told the mother the first thing in the morning, but we kept it from the children as long as we could.’
      • ‘Don't you think you've kept enough secrets from me?’
      • ‘I had no idea what he had in mind and everyone kept the secret from me.’
      • ‘They understand that shared knowledge is much more powerful than if it is kept from the larger group.’
      • ‘Most teens/pre-teens spend a great deal of time keeping secrets from their parents.’
      • ‘My daughter pierced her belly button without permission and kept it from me until I discovered it by accident.’
      • ‘He kept the secret from his family until the final show was broadcast.’
      • ‘Then I realized that not telling you would be the same as lying if I deliberately kept something from you.’
      keep secret, keep hidden, hide, conceal, withhold, hush up, not tell, suppress, censor, redact
      keep dark, not breathe a word of
      View synonyms
    • 2Cause something to stay out of.

      ‘she could not keep the dismay from her voice’
      • ‘Francesca nodded slowly, trying desperately to keep the laughter from her voice.’
      • ‘Dirk spoke haltingly, trying to keep the unfettered emotion from his voice.’
      • ‘Em was hard pressed to keep the grin from her face as she watched him go.’
      • ‘She kept the sadness from her eyes as she answered him with a kiss.’
  • keep in with

    • Remain on good terms with (someone)

      ‘he was simply trying to keep in with his friends’
      • ‘Rebecca is a meek young girl who tries to keep in with all her colleagues.’
      • ‘I have an RNLI Mastercard - they are important people to keep in with if you live somewhere that you can only get to by boat.’
      • ‘Jack opened an exhibition at the Castle on the life of James the Sixth; he'll do anything to keep in with the Royals.’
      • ‘I'd better keep in with everyone because I wouldn't like to be fighting for my place with this great minor team coming up.’
      • ‘I think I shall keep my vote secret the better to keep in with incompatible groups of friends and out with incompatible groups of enemies.’
      • ‘She would always be very decent to you, and would keep in with all the right people politically, but you always ended up wondering how much you could trust her.’
      • ‘The strike was not held back by the desire to keep in with Labour.’
      • ‘She was contemptuous of him knowing the right answer but acting dumb to keep in with his mates.’
      • ‘It's quite normal for teenagers to want to keep in with friends - and to do things that help them belong to the group.’
      • ‘People who are entitled to more don't take it because they think they must keep in with the boss.’
  • keep someone in

    • Confine someone indoors or in a particular place.

      ‘he should be kept in overnight for observation’
      • ‘They were worried that he might have damaged a joint so wanted to keep him in overnight.’
      • ‘The doctors decided to keep him in overnight because they were worried about the injury to his eye.’
      • ‘He was kept in for tests and an X-ray.’
      • ‘The woman was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where she has been kept in for observation.’
      • ‘Since that first episode, my sister has been sectioned six times - the last time was the worst, when she was kept in for seven months, including Christmas, new year and, most heartbreakingly of all, her 30th birthday.’
      • ‘They got her under control, got the insulin levels stable and kept her in for a day or so to make sure all was well.’
      • ‘But on arriving at the hospital the pain eased, and doctors decided to keep her in for 48 hours to check on her condition.’
      • ‘He later went to North Manchester General Hospital where he was kept in overnight for observation.’
      • ‘Everyone has kept their children in today, they are so shocked and can't see why it has happened.’
      • ‘An ambulance took the child to the hospital, where she was kept in for observation overnight.’
  • keep something in

    • Restrain oneself from expressing a feeling.

      ‘he wanted to make me mad, but I kept it all in’
      • ‘My mother used booze and drugs to deal with her anger and my father kept his anger in.’
      • ‘I keep my sadness in, when it probably would feel better to get it out.’
      • ‘Usually, I can manage to keep it all in. At most, I’ll let a few tears trickle down my cheeks.’
  • keep off

    • 1Avoid encroaching on or touching.

      ‘you don't have to keep off land during the stalking season’
      • ‘We don't want the sort of garden where children can't kick a ball or have to keep off the grass.’
      • ‘All this time farmers have been ranting at walkers about keeping off their land: and here they are, not even cleaning their own farm vehicles properly.’
      • ‘Cotswold District Council and Gloucestershire County Council have been working together to contact travellers and tell them to keep off the field until next week.’
      • ‘Ready Mix Concrete, which owns Chigborough Lakes, near Drapers Lane, has put up signs advising people to keep off land close to the lakes near Drapers Farm.’
      • ‘We took a route that kept off the main road as much as possible from Rozel on, and we passed the Neolithic Dolmen de Couperon before reaching St Catherine's Bay.’
      • ‘We must promote football by keeping off the grass and not trampling on ethics.’
      • ‘I think like with any big city, as long as you keep off the old side streets at night, you're OK.’
      • ‘The Foreign Office has advised Britons against travelling to Bolivia, and warned those already in the country to keep off the streets, not to travel, and to avoid any demonstrations.’
      • ‘Organisers and government officials in the period prior to the Games tried to encourage as many Sydneysiders as possible to leave the city, or failing that to keep off the roads, in order to streamline transport to Olympic events.’
      • ‘Because of the presence of asbestos, fire fighters had largely kept off the factory site, and surrounded the fire instead using water jets.’
      stay off, not enter, keep away from, stay away from, not trespass on, remain at a distance from, not go near
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Avoid consuming or smoking.
        ‘the first thing was to keep off alcohol’
        • ‘She has kept off alcohol, except for one slip, and that is a great achievement for someone who has suffered alcohol abuse problems for many years.’
        • ‘He added: ‘I gave up smoking last May and decided I needed an incentive to keep off the ciggies and took up running.’’
        • ‘Mr Jack said he had kept off heroin and out of trouble since 1999.’
        • ‘Just keep off the drink until after you've filed.’
        • ‘Declining the offer Seán had, ‘given up the drink for Lent and was keeping off it until after the election.’’
        • ‘He told her: ‘If you have kept off alcohol, not committed any offences and complied with the services, the worst that will happen to you will be a probation order.’’
        • ‘I have kept off the alcohol today to make sure I didn't miss anything.’
        abstain from, go without, do without, renounce, refrain from, give up, forgo, forswear, resist, turn aside from, swear off, not touch
        View synonyms
      2. 1.2Avoid (a subject)
        ‘they kept off delicate subjects like sexism’
        • ‘As a result, the government is now taking a circuitous route and trying to avoid those controversial subjects by keeping off the topic or delaying the discussions.’
        • ‘He would goof off, smile, horse around, do anything to keep off the subject, but I could tell.’
        • ‘If the patient is not inclined to discuss her ailment, keep off the topic.’
        • ‘He had perked up and we got the impression that, provided we kept off politics, we could have stayed and chewed the fat all afternoon.’
        • ‘They tried to keep off the subject of Hunter's mother by talking about the exam and what they were going to do on Saturday for Halloween but it was difficult.’
        • ‘if you kept off sensitive subjects she was normal and charming.’
        • ‘He kept off the core issues he usually loves to talk about and confined himself to cursory remarks.’
        avoid, steer clear of, stay away from, shun, evade, skirt round, sidestep, dodge, pass over, bypass
        View synonyms
    • 2(of bad weather) fail to occur.

      ‘the rain kept off until we boarded our coach’
      • ‘Even the weather managed to behave itself, with the rain keeping off until the judging was well over.’
      • ‘The rain kept off and the day went really well.’
      • ‘I'll be watching the game tonight, I hope the bad weather keeps off.’
      • ‘‘I just hope that the rain is going to keep off,’ she said.’
      • ‘And the rain did keep off… indeed for most of the week the rain kept off.’
      stay away, hold off, not start, not begin, not come, not happen
      View synonyms
  • keep someone/thing off

    • Prevent someone or something from encroaching on or touching.

      ‘keep your hands off me’
      • ‘I used to walk up and down the aisle passing sweets along the rows and making sure they kept their feet off the seats.’
      • ‘So much good work has been done by the locals that it is vital, from now on, that all forms of litter are kept off the roadway and that the flower beds and baskets are maintained at their best.’
      • ‘It keeps kids off the streets and gives them a bit of exercise.’
      • ‘It covers the windshield keeping off ice, frost and snow sparing you from scraping your windows clean.’
      • ‘Many stops along the way have no shelters whatsoever, while those available are often inadequate, with limited seating and insufficient cover to keep off a shower of rain.’
      • ‘A lens cap not only guards against scratching, but also keeps off dirt and fingerprints, which can also reduce sharpness and contrast.’
      • ‘Umbrellas made as much of a style statement as hats, bags and shoes yesterday as racegoers battled to keep off the rain.’
      • ‘Large vans and lorries are kept off by a concrete and bollard bottleneck barrier.’
      • ‘The summer is when you really need centres such as this kept open as it keeps children off the streets.’
      • ‘If we persist in demonising young people - portraying them as trouble-makers who need to be kept off our streets - we shouldn't be surprised if some of them, at least, turn out to be demons.’
  • keep someone off

    • Prevent someone from attending (school)

      ‘how long should children be kept off school for mumps?’
      • ‘Children with chickenpox must be kept off school when they are infectious, and avoid contact with anyone who is pregnant.’
      • ‘Parents are furious that their children are being kept off school, and there have already been threats of legal action against the authority.’
      • ‘His childhood is mainly marked by the fact that he suffered from very bad asthma, which still affects him, and so was kept off school a lot.’
      • ‘She has now kept James off school for seven weeks and is trying to get him into a new school.’
      • ‘Children are kept off school because ‘mum can't get out of bed in the morning’.’
      • ‘She argued that if she kept her child off school one day a week, she could face legal proceedings.’
      • ‘My mum found out and kept me off school for 2 weeks as she could not get an appointment with the headmaster.’
      • ‘Unions estimated that up to 60% of teachers would join the strike, the seventh walkout by school staff in industrial action that has kept some children off school for weeks and disrupted exams.’
      • ‘In these cases parents were advised that their children should be in school and it is an offence to keep them off without good reason.’
      • ‘Infected children should be kept off school until their temperature is normal again.’
  • keep on

    • Continue to do something.

      ‘he kept on moving’
      • ‘I kept on waiting until my tummy began to complain and then I shucked on my coat and went out to investigate.’
      • ‘When she was younger, I kept on telling her to elope and then return to tell everyone she was married.’
      • ‘He kept on falling over and he got kicked in the ribs, and once in the head.’
      • ‘We just let him play in the morning for a while, but he kept on asking when his dad was coming to take him out for presents.’
      • ‘This was January and I was positive I would be dead by March if I kept on taking drugs.’
      • ‘I thought it odd that he kept on going into the soft dunes and not on the harder sand near the water.’
      • ‘Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding!’
      • ‘She kept on trying to talk to me in English even if her vocabulary was pretty limited.’
      • ‘He was challenged by police and ordered to put the weapon down but kept on walking.’
      • ‘I have always been a bit slow on the uptake, and I just kept on looking at the board and waiting for it to make sense.’
      continue, go on, carry on, persist in, persevere in, keep going with
      View synonyms
  • keep on about

    • Speak about (something) repeatedly.

      ‘they kept on about negotiating an end to the war’
      • ‘I still haven't checked my cupboards for this damn contaminated food my Mother keeps on about.’
      • ‘She kept on about how they go drinking and how much fun they have on the beach at night.’
      • ‘That old man kept on about how the Puerto Ricans were coming around ruining his neighborhood, he had no idea that his real enemy was me.’
      • ‘I told him he ought to just ask her to dinner or something, but he kept on about how he was going to have to impress her.’
      • ‘‘We keep on about needing to do things for young people affordable housing, skate parks but we don't deliver,’ he said.’
      • ‘So does she get upset when journalists keep on about it?’
      • ‘Everyone keeps on about a new start for the New Year but I just feel sluggish and in desperate need of a major make-over.’
      • ‘But my Uncle was insistent and kept on about it being bizarre me wearing it.’
      • ‘The preamble kept on about how many Stop the War demonstrations there had been in Trafalgar Square, unquestionably assuming that all right-thinking people would be of the same opinion.’
      • ‘Haley's friend apologised but Bradley kept on about it so Haley told him to stop moaning and get on with his game.’
      talk constantly, talk endlessly, talk repeatedly, keep talking, go on, go on talking, go on and on, dwell on the subject, refer to repeatedly, repeat oneself, ramble on, rant on
      View synonyms
  • keep on at

    • Annoy (someone) by making frequent requests.

      ‘he'd kept on at her, wanting her to go out with him’
      • ‘His wife kept on at him to get rid of it, so he did the next best thing and buried the bike, sidecar and all.’
      • ‘We need to keep on at people to encourage them to remember to be responsible.’
      • ‘All of my friends had girlfriends and kept on at me to find one myself, but I never looked at girls like that.’
      • ‘We will keep on at them until they release financial figures which they promised in the first place.’
      • ‘We just keep on at them until they get fed up and do something.’
      • ‘My dad keeps on at me about getting better marks at school, but wants me to help around the house.’
      • ‘I was cleaning the car as he said, but he kept on at me, finding fault.’
      • ‘I keep on at the players to listen, practice, work hard and take it on to the pitch in every game.’
      • ‘She'd keep on at me to get it done straight away and I couldn't see the point.’
      • ‘He just kept on at me the whole time, trying to pressure me and get me to go back to the business and leave hospital.’
      nag, go on at, keep at, harp on at, badger, chivvy, harass, hound, bully, pester, scold
      View synonyms
  • keep someone/thing on

    • Continue to use or employ someone or something.

      ‘am I legally obliged to keep on the insurance?’
      • ‘Only 31 people have been kept on, to continue with its manufacturing operations until a new owner is found.’
      • ‘In industries that were not heavily unionised, however, some women were kept on - not least because they were cheaper to employ than men.’
      • ‘He was made a political correspondent and was kept on by the Telegraph when it took over the Morning Post.’
      • ‘A small number have been kept on to tie up loose ends before it permanently closes its doors next month.’
      • ‘Most of the people he used to work with have been made redundant, but David has been kept on because he's brilliant at his job.’
      • ‘We've heard of other companies where, when contracts expired, people were kept on.’
      • ‘The worker who lost his job said: ‘In January we were all assessed as to whether we would be kept on by the company - in effect reapplying for our jobs.’’
      • ‘There were 24 redundancies, although seven people were kept on by the administrators to retain the pallet area.’
      • ‘Forty workers were kept on to keep the business going until a sale was secured.’
      • ‘The 21 workers were kept on so the firm could be sold as a going concern by the receivers.’
      continue to employ, keep employing, carry on employing, retain in one's service, not dismiss, not sack, keep in one's employ, retain the services of
      View synonyms
  • keep out (or keep someone/thing out)

    • Remain (or cause someone or something to remain) outside.

      ‘cover with cheesecloth to keep out flies’
      • ‘Do we (the paying spectator) have to pay for yet another fence to keep us out of an area that we previously had access to?’
      • ‘Now the nursery needs to find funding for a new metal fence to keep the thugs out.’
      • ‘Screening windows and doors helps keep flies out of milk barns, pig parlors and homes.’
      • ‘A fence keeps people out, but you can still see the massive shell of the tree, and imagine its beauty, from the road.’
      • ‘Even the parts that are fenced don't keep them out all the time.’
      • ‘He was a motorbiking enthusiast who kept a Rottweiler and had erected barbed wire around part of his garden fence to keep intruders out.’
      • ‘They also use screening and filtration to keep insects out of rooms and sticky strips to catch those that do get in.’
      • ‘Screens are good for keeping the bugs out, but they won't protect your kids.’
      • ‘We had the doors open most of the day, with mesh screens to keep the bugs out and the cats in.’
      • ‘When the gang threatened to park their caravans in the car park until they were paid, Mr Coates and members of the church put up a fence to keep them out.’
      exclude, deny access to, shut out, debar, disbar, bar, ban, prohibit, put an embargo on, embargo
      View synonyms
  • keep to

    • 1Avoid leaving (a path, road, or place)

      ‘I didn't have his faith in the traffic, so I kept to the edge of the kerb’
      • ‘Near the folly, a sign reads ‘Danger please keep to path, dangerous crevasses’.’
      • ‘Special hi-tech cats' eyes have been set into the road to help drivers keep to the carriageway.’
      • ‘She made up her mind that if she went one way, keeping to a straight path, she would eventually find the edge of the forest.’
      • ‘Mr Timm added that followers were permitted to meet the hunt wherever they came from, as long as they kept to the roads and did not stray on to the surrounding fields.’
      • ‘And off I sailed, keeping to the main road which was quite dry, and well salted.’
      • ‘Keep to the main access road which bears right and climbs gradually to the lane crossroads.’
      • ‘Cross the bridge and keep to the tarmac path from here which leads back to the car park.’
      • ‘He added: ‘All we ask is that people stay away from livestock, keep to the paths and don't take dogs.’’
      • ‘There are signs everywhere asking walkers not to cause further damage to the fragile moorland and to keep to the path, but it is obvious that many just don't care about the damage they cause.’
      • ‘Traditionally at warm-up, teams keep to their respective ends of the pitch.’
      follow, follow closely, stick to, stay on
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Adhere to (a schedule)
        ‘the administration has kept to a tight timetable’
        • ‘Buses are getting later and later and drivers are getting more stressed out trying to keep to impossible schedules.’
        • ‘The secret of keeping to an exercise schedule is to make it enjoyable and this man sure knows how to do it.’
        • ‘Drivers and railway staff work under intense stress to keep to the tight timetables.’
        • ‘However, work is being halted following failure to keep to the deadlines for completing construction.’
        • ‘I kept to a regular schedule as much as possible, leaving myself the morning hours to get what I needed to do done and going to bed in the late afternoon.’
        • ‘It is impossible to keep to any kind of schedule.’
        • ‘He set a rigorous study schedule for himself and worked hard to keep to it.’
        • ‘We will adhere to the deadlines and keep to the timetable.’
        • ‘If I can't keep to my routines I feel anxious.’
        • ‘His only hope is that he won't be kept to a tight timetable.’
      2. 1.2Observe (a promise)
        ‘she was anxious to keep to her resolve to lay before him all the facts’
        • ‘We could be crucial in scrutinising whether the government keeps to its promises about reconstruction.’
        • ‘However, the government has not kept to its promise.’
        • ‘Since 2000, the Executive has kept to its commitment to limit increases in the poundage rate to inflation.’
        • ‘If you keep to that promise and do all my chores for the rest of the year, then I won't speak a word of it to anyone else.’
        • ‘I have managed to keep to my promise to get back to the gym.’
        • ‘And let us all hope that this and future administrations keep to those promises.’
        • ‘I told you I am not running, and I am keeping to that promise.’
        • ‘We are trying to ensure Lincolnshire officials keep to that Government promise.’
        • ‘Either Zach made a promise to change, and kept to it, or she was out of his life forever.’
        • ‘‘You made a solemn promise to your friends, keep to it,’ he advised them.’
        obey, abide by, observe, follow, comply with, adhere to, act in accordance with, conform to, be governed by, respect, defer to
        View synonyms
      3. 1.3Confine or restrict oneself to.
        ‘nothing is more irritating than people who do not keep to the point’
        • ‘To Manchester's credit they performed admirably and kept to their game plan right to the death.’
        • ‘Ensure that topics of conversation are kept to literary or academic subjects.’
        • ‘Although now I drank a wide range of fluids I still kept to the restricted salad, fruit and lean food diet.’
        • ‘They mostly skipped the ‘controversy’ and kept to interviews with the actors and theologians.’
        • ‘If Labour is hoping for a nice, tidy Scottish campaign, where everybody keeps to non-devolved issues and avoids the Scottish dimension, it could be in for a surprise.’
        • ‘Instead, the vast majority of people who drive sensibly and keep to speed limits will have to live with ridiculous restrictions and longer queues as a result.’
        • ‘Yet Edwards didn't lose his cool, kept to his talking points (even if he did so a little too much), and was occasionally downright charming.’
        • ‘This time I obeyed all the traffic rules and kept to a safe speed.’
        • ‘To help you to keep to the point of your letter, you can draw up an outline to plan your letter.’
        • ‘He has kept to the script so far, but needs to actually start putting figures on things.’
        stick to, restrict oneself to, confine oneself to
        View synonyms
  • keep someone under

    • Cause someone to remain in a state of oppression or subjection.

      ‘the local people are kept under by the army’
      • ‘Before that time comes, he will have conquered our kingdom and our people and our cities, and kept them under by force of arms for many years.’
      • ‘Hungary was then regarded at Vienna as a conquered realm, whose naturally rebellious inhabitants could only be kept under by force of arms.’
      • ‘the true church is very much kept under by its enemies.’
      keep in subjection, keep in submission, hold down, keep down, keep under one's thumb, subdue, subject, suppress, repress, oppress, tyrannize over, tyrannize
      squash, squelch, trample on
      View synonyms
  • keep up (also keep up with)

    • 1Move or progress at the same rate as someone or something else.

      ‘often they had to pause to allow him to keep up’
      • ‘During the same period the typical investor lost 10 percent of his or her portfolio and workers' wages barely kept up with the rate of inflation.’
      • ‘Ministry grants have not kept up with rising costs of education, including salary increases for teachers and support staff, and rising costs of utilities and supplies.’
      • ‘As a result, U.S. factories haven't kept up with foreign rivals.’
      • ‘The truckers’ pay rates have not kept up with increasing fuel prices and maintenance costs.’
      • ‘And when the pair split up to try to lose him, he kept up with one and finally managed to arrest him on the Beswick estate in Manchester.’
      • ‘On weekends, I found that I could actually keep up with my husband when we went hiking or biking.’
      • ‘The level of funding increase that has been provided for schools and early childhood centres has not even kept up with the rate of inflation.’
      • ‘This ensured that state pensions kept up with the rate at which salaries were rising.’
      • ‘Some private economists believe the central bank should become more aggressive in raising interest rates, which haven't kept up with the recent acceleration in prices.’
      • ‘Unions have been broken and pay has not kept up with inflation.’
      keep pace, keep abreast
      keep pace with, keep abreast of
      View synonyms
    • 2Meet a commitment to pay or do something regularly.

      ‘if you do not keep up with the payments, the loan company can make you sell your home’
      • ‘According to the National Consumer Council, about six million families are already struggling to keep up with credit commitments at a time when borrowing is rising.’
      • ‘Janny felt healthier and had enough energy to keep up with her commitments.’
      • ‘Millions of middle-class families like these are working hard and trying to get ahead, but they just can't keep up with the health care costs.’
      • ‘I'm going to try to keep up with five updates a week, I really am.’
      • ‘She has kept up with her exercise regime whereas mine has started and floundered quite a few times.’
      • ‘It encourages my child to attend college regularly and punctually and keep up with the course work.’
      • ‘Throughout filming she has kept up with her school work by email and is very level-headed.’
      • ‘Provided creditors agree, and the debtor keeps up with the payments laid out in the trust deed, he will usually be discharged from any remaining debt after three years.’
      • ‘Despite everything she's been through she's always kept up with her school work.’
      • ‘If you don't keep up with repairs then things begin to deteriorate.’
  • keep up with

    • 1Learn about or be aware of (current events or developments)

      ‘even though he's been travelling, he's kept up with what's going on back home’
      • ‘She may have been far from clever, but she certainly kept up with all the palace's gossip.’
      • ‘It is a place where pensioners meet other pensioners and keep up with news.’
      • ‘He thinks that some professionals aren't keeping up with the latest developments.’
      • ‘Somewhere along the way he admits that he became disillusioned with the art world and, though he keeps up with its developments, he has not lifted a paintbrush in years.’
      • ‘In order to keep up with current events throughout the world, I watch the news in the morning.’
      • ‘I keep up with news and current events, and love interacting with people in new situations.’
      • ‘Keeping up with science is probably easier than keeping up with current affairs.’
      • ‘She kept up with all the news of the day and took a keen interest in local and national events.’
      • ‘His work was based on the mathematics he learnt as a student and he appears not to have kept up with new developments.’
      • ‘It must be both fascinating and frustrating to be a medical doctor and have to keep up with all the research and new evidence that may be against accepted practices.’
      keep informed about, keep up to date with, keep in touch with, not lose track of, keep abreast of, keep an eye on, learn about, retain an interest in
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Continue to be in contact with (someone)
        ‘they had kept up with him by means of Xmas cards’
        • ‘They each spend about seven to 10 hours a week keeping up with all of their contacts.’
        • ‘We had all visited him regularly to keep up with each other, and I for one, wrote a letter to him every week.’
        • ‘It was very interesting to see how people were doing, but there were no surprise recognitions of people I should really have kept up with and haven't.’
        • ‘Then we were chatting more, and eventually keeping up with each other outside of work.’
        • ‘I haven't kept up with either of them, but I hear from them and every once in a while I'll see Brad on the circuit.’
        • ‘I kept up with Timmy for a while, but as often happens, once we no longer saw each other weekly, the emails became less and less frequent until they stopped.’
        • ‘We were loved and cherished by the most extraordinary teachers, whom I actually kept up with in later life.’
        remain in contact with, stay in touch with, maintain contact with, remain in correspondence with, remain in communication with, keep up one's friendship with, remain acquainted with
        View synonyms
  • keep someone up

    • Prevent someone from going to bed or to sleep.

      ‘the drugs kept her up all night hallucinating’
      • ‘So, are you planning to get some sleep, or are you planning to keep me up?’
      • ‘He kept us up until well past 4am with hilarious stories of an actor's life.’
      • ‘Try as I might, once again the noise kept me up and I couldn't sleep.’
      • ‘It was painful enough last week that I had to call in a sick day as the pain kept me up most of the night.’
      • ‘My mom says I slept all day and kept her up at nights.’
      • ‘I can't even remember all the classes I slept through because you kept me up all night.’
      • ‘The fact is, some foods promote sleep, while others are bound to keep you up at night.’
      • ‘What kept you up so late, I thought you were coming to bed?’
      • ‘It keeps you up for days, takes away all inhibitions and is as addictive if not more so than heroin.’
      • ‘Thoughts like these kept Deirdre up most of the night, and she got little sleep.’
  • keep something up

    • 1Continue a course of action.

      ‘keep up the good work’
      • ‘How long were you planning on keeping this childish play up?’
      • ‘I didn't really keep it up continuously, but practiced occasionally in college.’
      • ‘Articles like yours allow me to maintain faith in the American people - keep it up and may your voice get louder and louder!’
      • ‘If it was just an act, how could anyone have kept it up so convincingly for more than 20 years, without giving a glimpse of something intelligent underneath.’
      • ‘So as long as this egoistic propaganda is kept up, India will continue to get the better of any encounters in the battlefield.’
      • ‘As a result I'm spending about £10 a week less than I was and I intend to keep it up.’
      • ‘I kept it up for a few years, until I was twelve or so, and then I gave it up on my own.’
      • ‘I was happy with the hunger we showed and I felt that if we kept it up we were in with a chance.’
      • ‘I've been slowly working up to getting up earlier (I had been getting up around 11 a.m.) and have kept it up most of the week.’
      • ‘She gets top marks in every class and I know she will have a bright future if she keeps this up.’
      continue, keep on with, continue with, go on with, carry on with, persist with, persevere with
      maintain, carry on, keep going, sustain
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Keep something in an efficient or proper state.
        ‘the rector could not afford to keep up the grounds’
        • ‘We still can use volunteers to help keep up the garden.’
        • ‘There is generally a tighter management of the properties because Mum and Dad say, ‘You keep it up or the rents goes up’.’’
        • ‘My father-in-law has become quite ill and it's becoming increasingly difficult for my mother-in-law to keep up the house.’
        • ‘I've thought that the ugly house was the home of someone old and ill, someone who couldn't afford to keep it up, someone whose entire life was confined to one small room upstairs.’
        • ‘Volunteers help keep up the park through the seasons.’
      2. 1.2Make something remain at a high level.
        ‘he was whistling to keep up his spirits’
        • ‘She would tell me to pull myself together and kept my spirits up.’
        • ‘All of the support helps to keep their morale up.’
        • ‘The Consumers Association has been supportive of our moves to try and keep standards up.’
        • ‘We kept her spirits up and she has shown tremendous courage and determination.’
        • ‘We've got to show support for these young children to keep their enthusiasm up to become professional players.’
        • ‘Well, I'm older, and so I have to keep the energy level up.’
        • ‘‘I am feeling better every day, and all the good wishes of the many who have written have certainly kept my spirits up,’ she said.’
        • ‘Catherine said: ‘It was pretty hard but luckily I had a lot of people who supported me and got me through and kept my confidence up.’’
        • ‘With cases of vomiting there is a risk of dehydration among children, so parents should make sure fluid levels are kept up.’
        • ‘It is all done with a flowing pace that keeps the interest level up, managing to be both educational and entertaining.’


Late Old English cēpan ‘seize, take in’, also ‘care for, attend to’, of unknown origin.