v. & n.
—v. (past and past part. kept)
1 tr. have continuous charge of; retain possession of.
2 tr. (foll. by for) retain or reserve for a future occasion or time (will keep it for tomorrow).
3 tr. & intr. retain or remain in a specified condition, position, course, etc. (keep cool; keep off the grass; keep them happy).
4 tr. put or store in a regular place (knives are kept in this drawer).
5 tr. (foll. by from) cause to avoid or abstain from something (will keep you from going too fast).
6 tr. detain; cause to be late (what kept you?).
7 tr. a observe or pay due regard to (a law, custom, etc.) (keep one's word). b honour or fulfil (a commitment, undertaking, etc.). c respect the commitment implied by (a secret etc.). d act fittingly on the occasion of (keep the sabbath).
8 tr. own and look after (animals) for amusement or profit (keeps bees).
9 tr. a provide for the sustenance of (a person, family, etc.). b (foll. by in) maintain (a person) with a supply of.
10 tr. carry on; manage (a shop, business, etc.).
11 a tr. maintain (accounts, a diary, etc.) by making the requisite entries. b tr. maintain (a house) in proper order.
12 tr. have (a commodity) regularly on sale (do you keep buttons?).
13 tr. guard or protect (a person or place, a goal in football, etc.).
14 tr. preserve in being; continue to have (keep order).
15 intr. (foll. by verbal noun) continue or do repeatedly or habitually (why do you keep saying that?).
16 tr. continue to follow (a way or course).
17 intr. a (esp. of perishable commodities) remain in good condition. b (of news or information etc.) admit of being withheld for a time.
18 tr. remain in (one's bed, room, house, etc.).
19 tr. retain one's place in (a seat or saddle, one's ground, etc.) against opposition or difficulty.
20 tr. maintain (a person) in return for sexual favours (a kept woman).
1 maintenance or the essentials for this (esp. food) (hardly earn your keep).
2 charge or control (is in your keep).
3 hist. a tower or stronghold.
Phrases and idioms:
for keeps colloq. (esp. of something received or won) permanently, indefinitely. how are you keeping? how are you? keep at persist or cause to persist with. keep away (often foll. by from)
1 avoid being near.
2 prevent from being near.
keep back
1 remain or keep at a distance.
2 retard the progress of.
3 conceal; decline to disclose.
4 retain, withhold (kept back pound50).
keep one's balance
1 remain stable; avoid falling.
2 retain one's composure.
keep down
1 hold in subjection.
2 keep low in amount.
3 lie low; stay hidden.
4 manage not to vomit (food eaten). keep one's feet manage not to fall. keep-fit regular exercises to promote personal fitness and health. keep one's hair on see HAIR. keep one's hand in see HAND.
keep in
1 confine or restrain (one's feelings etc.).
2 remain or confine indoors.
3 keep (a fire) burning. keep in with remain on good terms with.
keep off
1 stay or cause to stay away from.
2 ward off; avert.
3 abstain from.
4 avoid (a subject) (let's keep off religion).
keep on
1 continue to do something; do continually (kept on laughing).
2 continue to use or employ.
3 (foll. by at) pester or harass.
keep out
1 keep or remain outside.
2 exclude.
keep state
1 maintain one's dignity.
2 be difficult of access.
keep to
1 adhere to (a course, schedule, etc.).
2 observe (a promise).
3 confine oneself to.
keep to oneself
1 avoid contact with others.
2 refuse to disclose or share. keep together remain or keep in harmony. keep track of see TRACK(1). keep under hold in subjection.
keep up
1 maintain (progress etc.).
2 prevent (prices, one's spirits, etc.) from sinking.
3 keep in repair, in an efficient or proper state, etc.
4 carry on (a correspondence etc.).
5 prevent (a person) from going to bed, esp. when late.
6 (often foll. by with) manage not to fall behind. keep up with the Joneses strive to compete socially with one's neighbours. keep one's word see WORD.
keepable adj.
Etymology: OE cepan, of unkn. orig.

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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