Definition of keep off in US English:

keep off

phrasal verb

  • 1Avoid encroaching on or touching.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 don't want the sort of garden where children can't kick a ball or have to keep off the grass.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We must promote football by keeping off the grass and not trampling on ethics.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I think like with any big city, as long as you keep off the old side streets at night, you're OK.’
    • ‘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
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    1. 1.1 Avoid consuming or smoking.
      ‘the first thing was to keep off alcohol’
      • ‘He added: ‘I gave up smoking last May and decided I needed an incentive to keep off the ciggies and took up running.’’
      • ‘Declining the offer Seán had, ‘given up the drink for Lent and was keeping off it until after the election.’’
      • ‘I have kept off the alcohol today to make sure I didn't miss anything.’
      • ‘Mr Jack said he had kept off heroin and out of trouble since 1999.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Just keep off the drink until after you've filed.’
      • ‘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.’’
      abstain from, go without, do without, renounce, refrain from, give up, forgo, forswear, resist, turn aside from, swear off, not touch
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    2. 1.2 Avoid (a subject).
      • ‘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 would goof off, smile, horse around, do anything to keep off the subject, but I could tell.’
      • ‘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 kept off the core issues he usually loves to talk about and confined himself to cursory remarks.’
      • ‘If the patient is not inclined to discuss her ailment, keep off the topic.’
      avoid, steer clear of, stay away from, shun, evade, skirt round, sidestep, dodge, pass over, bypass
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  • 2(of bad weather) fail to occur.

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