Definition of keep someone down in English:

keep someone down

phrasal verb

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

    ‘is a child who fails a year test to be kept down?’
    • ‘It is extended to students somewhat forcibly, to attend morning school during the long vacation to avoid being kept down the following year.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was kept down at school 3 years in a row.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘Even an investigation by the Inland Revenue's special compliance unit and a brain tumour could not keep him down.’
    • ‘Stop whining about how the system is keeping you down!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We are in no way an underdog province beneath the thumb of a national environment ministry bent on keeping us down.’
    • ‘He was out there to prove that nothing was going to keep him down and full credit to him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This was never out of any desire to see women treated with respect as equals - rather it was one way of keeping us down.’
    • ‘Work is shown as unremitting drudgery, keeping us down and continually reminding us of our essential failure.’
    • ‘Yes, we're suffering, yes, we're on our knees, but you're not going to keep us down.’
    keep in subjection, keep in submission, hold down, keep down, keep under one's thumb, subdue, subject, suppress, repress, oppress, tyrannize over, tyrannize
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