- conformity or harmony (esp in the phrases in or out of keeping)
- charge or care: valuables in the keeping of a bank
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
- in keeping with, in agreement with things that are usually associated together or connected:Her actions were not in keeping with her words.
- the act of a person or thing that keeps; observance, custody, or care:We put the jewels in your keeping.
- agreement or conformity in things or elements associated together:His actions are not in keeping with his words.
- the act of a person or thing that keeps;
observance, custody, or care.
- maintenance or keep.
- holding, reserving, or retaining.
- Middle English keping. See keep, -ing1 1250–1300
- to hold or cause to remain in one's possession[~ + object]kept the change from a ten-dollar bill.
- to hold or cause to remain in a given place; put or store[~ + object]I keep the car in the garage.
- to (cause to) continue or stay in a certain position, state, course, condition, or action: [~ + object + verb-ing]to keep a light burning.[~ + verb-ing]I kept trying to reach her by phone.[~ ( + object) + adjective]Keep the children quiet during the ceremony.[~ + object + verb-ed/-en]You have to keep your lawn mowed in that neighborhood.[~ + object]vowed to keep his silence.
- to maintain or cause to stay fresh or in usable or edible condition; (cause to) be preserved: [~ + object]to keep meat by freezing it.[no object]How long will this meat keep in hot weather?
- to cause to stay or remain in a particular place; detain[~ + object]They kept me in prison for days.
- to remain in (a place, spot, etc.);
stay: [~ + object]Please keep your seats.[no object]Keep off the grass.
- to have readily available for use or sale[~ + object]to keep machine parts in stock.
- to maintain in one's service or for one's use[~ + object]She can no longer afford to keep a car and a driver.
- to associate with[~ + object]to keep bad company.
- to (cause to) be held back from disclosing: [~ + object]keeping secrets.[no object]The rest of the story will have to keep until the next time.
- to withhold, as from use; reserve;
save[~ + object]to keep the best wine for guests.
- to restrain or prevent, as from an action: [~ + object + from + verb-ing]to keep the warmth from escaping.[~ + oneself + from + verb-ing]couldn't keep herself from smiling.[~ + from + verb-ing]Can you keep from smiling?
- to control; maintain[~ + object]police officers keeping the peace.
- to maintain by writing;
to record regularly[~ + object]to keep a diary.
- to observe; obey or fulfill[~ + object]She always keeps her promises.
- to observe (a season, festival, etc.) with formalities or rites[~ + object]to keep Christmas.
- to maintain; manage[~ + object]to keep a small grocery store.
- to guard;
protect[~ + object]He kept her from harm.
- to maintain or support[~ + object]Can you keep a family on those wages?
- to maintain one's position in or on[~ + object]to keep a job.
- to continue to follow a path, course, etc.[no object]Keep on this road; keep left.
- keep at, to (cause to) continue (working, etc.);
persevere in: [~ + at + object]She just kept at the task.[~ + object + at + object]The boss kept us at it all night.
- to hold in check; restrain: [~ + object + back]The police kept the crowd back.[~ + back + object]They kept back the crowd.
- [no object] to stay away from:The firefighters at first kept back from the fire.
- to withhold; not to tell: [~ + object + back]Don't keep any information back.[~ + back + object]She's keeping back the news from us.
- to maintain at an acceptable level; control: [~ + object + down]The store kept the temperature down.[~ + down + object]They kept down the temperature.
- to prevent from advancing or flourishing: [~ + object + down]It's hard to keep a good person down.[~ + down + object]The company shouldn't keep down dedicated workers.
- to avoid vomiting (food): [~ + down + object]The patient managed to keep down the meal.[~ + object + down]wondered if he could keep it down.
- to obey;
go along with:to keep to the rules.
- to confine oneself to:to keep to one's bed.
- [~ + up + with + object] to perform as swiftly or successfully as others:She easily kept up with the rest of the runners.
- to persevere; continue: [~ + up + object]kept up a continuous groaning.[~ + up ( + with) + object]kept up (with) the payments; told her to keep up the good work.[no object]How long will that horrible music keep up?
- [~ + up + object] to maintain in good condition or repair:He liked to keep up old cars.
- [~ + up + with + object] to stay informed:He kept up with all the latest sports events.
- the cost of food and a place to live or stay; subsistence;
support[usually singular]had to work for his keep.
- the innermost and strongest structure or central tower of a medieval castle;
- with the understanding that winnings are retained by the winner:playing poker for keeps.
- with serious intent or purpose:We're all in this effort for keeps.
- permanently; forever.
- to remain apart from the society of others.
- [~ + object + to + oneself] to hold (something) as secret or not to be told to another:
You can't keep that information to yourself any longer.[~ + to + oneself + object]Keep to yourself any information you receive.
v., kept, keep•ing, n.
- to hold or retain in one's possession;
hold as one's own:If you like it, keep it. Keep the change.
- to hold or have the use of for a period of time:You can keep it for the summer.
- to hold in a given place; store:You can keep your things in here.
- to maintain (some action), esp. in accordance with specific requirements, a promise, etc.:to keep watch; to keep step.
- to cause to continue in a given position, state, course, or action:to keep a light burning; to keep a child happy.
- to maintain in condition or order, as by care and labor:He keeps his car in good condition.
- to maintain in usable or edible condition; preserve:If you want to keep meat for a long time, freeze it.
- to hold in custody or under guard, as a prisoner:They kept him in jail.
- to cause to stay in a particular place; prevent or restrain from departure:The work kept her at the office.
- to have regularly in stock and for sale:to keep a large supply of machine parts.
- to maintain in one's service or for one's use or enjoyment:to keep a car and chauffeur.
- to associate with:She keeps bad company.
- to have the care, charge, or custody of:She keeps my dog when I travel.
- to refrain from disclosing; withhold from the knowledge of others:to keep a secret.
- to withhold from use;
save:I'll keep this toy until you learn to behave. Keep the good wine for company.
- to hold back or restrain:They kept the child from talking. Nothing can keep him from doing it.
- to maintain control of; regulate:to keep the peace;
to keep your temper.
- to maintain by writing:to keep a diary.
- to record (business transactions, daily occurrences, etc.) regularly:to keep records; to keep a list of visitors.
- to observe;
pay obedient regard to (a law, rule, promise, etc.).
- to conform to;
fulfill:to keep one's word.
- to observe (a season, festival, etc.) with formalities or rites:to keep Christmas.
- to maintain or carry on, as an establishment, business, etc.; manage.
- to guard;
protect:He kept her from harm.
- to maintain or support:It costs more each year to keep a house.
- to support or contribute to the support of in return for sexual or other favors.
- to take care of; tend:to keep a vegetable garden.
- Agricultureto raise (livestock):These farmers keep goats and cattle.
- to remain in (a place, spot, etc.):Please keep your seats.
- to maintain one's position in or on:He kept the job.
- to continue to follow (a path, track, course, etc.).
- to maintain in active existence, as an assembly, court, or fair.
- to continue in an action, course, position, state, etc.:to keep in sight; to keep going.
- to remain, or continue to be, as specified:to keep cool.
- to remain or stay in a particular place:to keep indoors.
- to continue unimpaired or without spoiling:The food will keep on ice.
- to admit of being reserved for a future occasion:I have more to tell you, but it will keep.
- to keep oneself or itself as specified (fol. by away, back, off, out, etc.):Keep off the grass.
- to restrain oneself; refrain (usually fol. by from):Try to keep from smiling.
- keep at, to persist in;
be steadfast:You'll never master your French unless you keep at it.
- to hold in check; restrain:The dikes kept back the floodwaters.
- to stay away from:The crowds would not keep back from the barrier.
- to refuse to reveal:The prisoner was keeping back vital information.
- to hold under control or at a reduced or acceptable level:to keep your voice down.
- to prevent from going up or increasing:to keep prices down.
persist:If you keep on singing they'll ask you to leave.
- to adhere to; conform to:She keeps to the rules.
- to confine oneself to:to keep to one's bed.
- to remain aloof from the society of others.
- to hold (something) as secret or confidential:I'll tell you only if you promise to keep it to yourself.
- to maintain an equal rate of speed, activity, or progress with another or others.
- to persevere; continue.
- to maintain the good condition of;
keep in repair.
- Also,keep up on or with. to stay informed:to keep up on current events.
- to match one's friends, neighbors, business associates, etc., in success, affluence, etc.
- board and lodging;
support:to work for one's keep.
- the innermost and strongest structure or central tower of a medieval castle.
- Gameskeeps, (used with a sing. v.) a game of marbles in which the players keep the marbles they have won.
- under the stipulation that one keeps one's winnings.
- with serious intent or purpose.
- finally; permanently:They decided to settle the argument for keeps.
Middle English kepen, Old English cēpan to observe, heed, watch, await, take;
perh. akin to Old English gecōp proper, fitting, capian to look, Old Norse kōpa to stare
1 . Keep, reserve, retain, withhold refer to having and holding in possession. Keep (a common word) and retain (a more formal one) agree in meaning to continue to have or hold, as opposed to losing, parting with, or giving up:to keep a book for a week.To reserve is to keep for some future use, occasion, or recipient, or to hold back for a time:to reserve judgment.To withhold is generally to hold back altogether:to withhold help. 6 . preserve. 8 . detain, confine. 53 in Unabridged dictionary . donjon, dungeon, stronghold. 8 . release.
- (transitive) to have or retain possession of
- (transitive) to have temporary possession or charge of: keep my watch for me during the game
- (transitive) to store in a customary place: I keep my books in the desk
- to remain or cause to remain in a specified state or condition: keep the dog quiet, keep ready
- to continue or cause to continue: keep the beat, keep in step
- (transitive) to have or take charge or care of: keep the shop for me till I return
- (transitive) to look after or maintain for use, pleasure, etc: to keep chickens, keep two cars
- (transitive) to provide for the upkeep or livelihood of
- (transitive) to support financially, esp in return for sexual favours
- to confine or detain or be confined or detained
- to withhold or reserve or admit of withholding or reserving: your news will keep till later
- (transitive) to refrain from divulging or violating: to keep a secret, keep one's word
- to preserve or admit of preservation
- (transitive) sometimes followed by up: to observe with due rites or ceremonies
- (transitive) to maintain by writing regular records in: to keep a diary
- when intr, followed by in, on, to, etc: to stay in, on, or at (a place or position): please keep your seats, keep to the path
- (transitive) to associate with (esp in the phrase keep bad company)
- (transitive) to maintain in existence: to keep court in the palace
- (transitive) chiefly Brit to have habitually in stock: this shop keeps all kinds of wool
- how are you keeping? ⇒ how are you?
- living or support
- archaic charge or care
- Also called: dungeon, donjon the main tower within the walls of a medieval castle or fortress
- informal completely; permanently
- for the winner or possessor to keep permanently
See also keep at, keep awayEtymology: Old English cēpan to observe; compare Old Saxon kapōn to look, Old Norse kōpa to stare