Definition of keep up appearances in US English:

keep up appearances


  • Maintain an impression of wealth or well-being, typically to hide the true situation.

    • ‘My parents, brothers, and sisters would be here, so we had to keep up appearances.’
    • ‘An example of a bad peace is keeping up appearances, pretending that everything is fine, when the truth is that it is not.’
    • ‘With an overriding mood of boredom, the boys and girls are almost totally incapable of talking to one another, and all their parents worry about is keeping up appearances.’
    • ‘They despise each other, but of course must keep up appearances in front of the sensitive young mistress.’
    • ‘I hated that I was so worried about keeping up appearances with these people that I was lying to myself.’
    • ‘We keep up appearances and avoid what might lead to conflict.’
    • ‘It's clear now that these and other types in investment knew what was up, and it was in their best interests to keep up appearances, so they could clean up and get out in time.’
    • ‘It is crumbling, but the screen keeps up appearances.’
    • ‘It's the diplomatic version of distressed gentlefolk keeping up appearances, making ourselves ridiculous and obnoxious to our real equals, the other Europeans.’
    • ‘The only thing expressed in this election was a cry for help from a confused and lost nation, desperate to keep up appearances.’