One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Maintain one's composure, especially by refraining from laughter.
- ‘For my part I decided that for once in my life it was wisest to keep my countenance.’
- ‘Party leaders, however, apparently kept their countenance to avoid getting involved in any issues related to party reform.[, waiting to see what President Chen wanted, Hong said.]’
- ‘Dislike welled up inside me, but I managed to keep my countenance and voice cordial.’
- ‘Rachel could continue to sense his scrutiny, and because of that kept her countenance strictly controlled.’
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