Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To retain possession of: kept the change; must keep your composure.
  • transitive v. To have as a supply: keep an ax in the shed.
  • transitive v. To provide (a family, for example) with maintenance and support: "There's little to earn and many to keep” ( Charles Kingsley).
  • transitive v. To support (a mistress or lover) financially.
  • transitive v. To put customarily; store: Where do you keep your saw?
  • transitive v. To supply with room and board for a charge: keep boarders.
  • transitive v. To raise: keep chickens.
  • transitive v. To maintain for use or service: an urbanite who didn't keep a car.
  • transitive v. To manage, tend, or have charge of: Keep the shop while I'm away.
  • transitive v. To preserve (food).
  • transitive v. To cause to continue in a state, condition, or course of action: tried to keep the patient calm.
  • transitive v. To maintain records in: keep a yearly diary.
  • transitive v. To enter (data) in a book: keep financial records.
  • transitive v. To detain: was kept after school.
  • transitive v. To restrain: kept the child away from the stove; kept the crowd back with barriers.
  • transitive v. To prevent or deter: tried to keep the ice from melting.
  • transitive v. To refrain from divulging: keep a secret.
  • transitive v. To save; reserve: keep extra money for emergencies.
  • transitive v. To adhere or conform to; follow: keep late hours.
  • transitive v. To be faithful to; fulfill: keep one's word.
  • transitive v. To celebrate; observe.
  • intransitive v. To remain in a state or condition; stay: keep in line; keep quiet; kept well.
  • intransitive v. To continue to do: keep on talking; keep guessing.
  • intransitive v. To remain fresh or unspoiled: The dessert won't keep.
  • intransitive v. To restrain oneself; hold oneself back: I couldn't keep from eavesdropping.
  • n. Care; charge: The child is in my keep for the day.
  • n. The means by which one is supported: earn one's keep.
  • n. The stronghold of a castle.
  • n. A jail.
  • keep at To persevere in work or an action.
  • keep down To prevent from growing, accomplishing, or succeeding: keep the revolutionaries down.
  • keep down To hold under control or at a reduced level: Keep your voice down.
  • keep down To refrain from vomiting: Although seasick, I managed to keep my food down.
  • keep off To stay away from.
  • keep to To adhere to: keep to the original purpose.
  • keep up To maintain in good condition: kept up the property.
  • keep up To persevere in; carry on: We asked her to stop talking, but she kept it up.
  • keep up To preserve or sustain: kept up the appearance of friendship.
  • keep up To continue at the same level or pace: The snow kept up all day.
  • keep up To continue to pay off (a financial obligation).
  • keep up To match one's competitors, colleagues, or neighbors in success or lifestyle: couldn't keep up with his friends who went into business.
  • keep up To remain adequately informed: loved to keep up on the gossip.
  • idiom for keeps For an indefinitely long period: gave the ring to me for keeps.
  • idiom for keeps Seriously and permanently: We're separating for keeps.
  • idiom keep an eye on To watch over attentively; mind.
  • idiom keep an eye on To watch closely or carefully: keep your eye on the ball.
  • idiom keep an eye out To be watchful.
  • idiom keep a stiff upper lip To be courageous or stoic in the face of adversity.
  • idiom keep company To carry on a courtship: a couple who kept company but never married.
  • idiom keep company To socialize or associate: keeps company with some tough thugs.
  • idiom keep (one's) chin up To be stalwart, courageous, or optimistic in the face of difficulty.
  • idiom open To be on the lookout.
  • idiom keep (one's) nose clean Informal To stay out of trouble.
  • idiom keep pace To stay even with others, as in a contest.
  • idiom keep (someone) company To accompany or remain with.
  • idiom keep the wolf from the door To avoid the privation and suffering resulting from a lack of money: Both spouses had to work in order to keep the wolf from the door.
  • idiom keep time To indicate the correct time.
  • idiom keep time Music To maintain the tempo or rhythm.
  • idiom keep to (oneself) To shun the company of others: She kept to herself all morning.
  • idiom keep to (oneself) To refrain from divulging: He kept the news to himself.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To maintain possession of.
  • v. To maintain the condition of.
  • v. To remain in, to be confined to.
  • v. To wait for, keep watch for.
  • v. To restrain.
  • v. To protect, guard.
  • v. To continue.
  • v. To remain edible or otherwise usable.
  • v. To remain in a state.
  • v. To act as wicket-keeper.
  • v. To raise; to care for.
  • v. To supply with necessities and financially support a person.
  • n. Care, notice
  • n. The main tower of a castle or fortress, located within the castle walls.
  • n. The food or money required to keep someone alive and healthy; one's support, maintenance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or office of keeping; custody; guard; care; heed; charge.
  • n. The state of being kept; hence, the resulting condition; case.
  • n. The means or provisions by which one is kept; maintenance; support.
  • n. That which keeps or protects; a stronghold; a fortress; a castle; specifically, the strongest and securest part of a castle, often used as a place of residence by the lord of the castle, especially during a siege; the dungeon. See Illust. of Castle.
  • n. That which is kept in charge; a charge.
  • n. A cap for retaining anything, as a journal box, in place.
  • intransitive v. To remain in any position or state; to continue; to abide; to stay
  • intransitive v. To last; to endure; to remain unimpaired.
  • intransitive v. To reside for a time; to lodge; to dwell.
  • intransitive v. To take care; to be solicitous; to watch.
  • intransitive v. To be in session.
  • transitive v. To care; to desire.
  • transitive v. To hold; to restrain from departure or removal; not to let go of; to retain in one's power or possession; not to lose; to retain; to detain.
  • transitive v. To cause to remain in a given situation or condition; to maintain unchanged; to hold or preserve in any state or tenor.
  • transitive v. To have in custody; to have in some place for preservation; to take charge of.
  • transitive v. To preserve from danger, harm, or loss; to guard.
  • transitive v. To preserve from discovery or publicity; not to communicate, reveal, or betray, as a secret.
  • transitive v. To attend upon; to have the care of; to tend.
  • transitive v. To record transactions, accounts, or events in; ; also, to enter (as accounts, records, etc. ) in a book.
  • transitive v. To maintain, as an establishment, institution, or the like; to conduct; to manage.
  • transitive v. To supply with necessaries of life; to entertain.
  • transitive v. To have in one's service; to have and maintain, as an assistant, a servant, a mistress, a horse, etc.
  • transitive v. To have habitually in stock for sale.
  • transitive v. To continue in, as a course or mode of action; not to intermit or fall from; to hold to; to maintain
  • transitive v. To observe; to adhere to; to fulfill; not to swerve from or violate; to practice or perform, as duty; not to neglect; to be faithful to.
  • transitive v. To confine one's self to; not to quit; to remain in; ; hence, to haunt; to frequent.
  • transitive v. To observe duly, as a festival, etc.; to celebrate; to solemnize.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To observe; heed; regard; attend to; care for; be solicitous about.
  • To observe or carry out in practice; perform; fulfil: as, to keep the laws; to keep the sabbath-day; to keep one's word or promise.
  • To celebrate or observe with all due formalities or rites; solemnize: as, to keep Lent.
  • To hold; have or carry on: as, to keep court; to keep an act at a university.
  • To tend; care for; have the charge, oversight, or custody of.
  • To guard; protect; preserve; especially, to maintain inviolate or intact; preserve from danger, mishap, loss, decay, etc.: as, to keep the peace.
  • To retain or hold possession of; retain in one's own power or possession; continue to have, hold, or enjoy; retain: as, he got it to keep; to keep a thing in mind; to keep a secret; to keep one's own counsel.
  • To have habitually in stock or for sale.
  • To have habitually in attendance or use; employ or maintain in service, or for one's use or enjoyment: as, to keep three servants; to keep a horse and carriage.
  • To maintain; support; provide for; supply with whatever is needed.
  • To maintain or carry on, as an establishment, institution, business, etc.; conduct; manage: as, to keep a school or a hotel; to keep shop; to keep house.
  • To receive; go to meet; receive as a friend or guest.
  • To take in and provide for; entertain.
  • To hold; detain: as, what keeps him here?
  • To hold or hold back; restrain.
  • To continue, or continue to maintain or preserve, as a state or course of action: as, to keep the same road; to keep step.
  • To cause to be or continue in some specified state, condition, action, or course: as, to keep the coast clear; to keep things in order.
  • To stay or remain in; refrain from leaving: as, to keep the house; to keep one's bed.
  • To maintain habitually: same as keep up.
  • To scare away: same as keep off: as, to keep crows.
  • To maintain a regular record of or in; have or take charge of entering or making entries in: as, to keep accounts; to keep the books of a firm; to keep a diary.
  • To restrain; hold back.
  • In printing, to set in lower-case type, as a word or initial letter.
  • To conceal; avoid telling or disclosing.
  • To restrain; curb, as a horse.
  • To maintain; continue; prevent cessation of.
  • To maintain in good order or condition: as, to pay so much a year to keep up a grave.
  • Synonyms, etc. Keep, Retain, Reserve. Keep is a very general idiomatic word, meaning, in this relation, not to dispose of or part with; hold on to: as, to sell half and keep half. Retain covers the idea of not giving up where there is occasion or opportunity : as, to surrender on condition that the officers retain their side-arms. To reserve is to keep back at a time or in an act in which other things are given up; also, to keep back for a time: as, to reserve judgment.
  • Keep, Defend, Protect, Shelter, Preserve. Keep is the general word in this relation also. To defend is to keep by warding off attacks; the word does not so much imply success as the others do. To protect is to keep by covering from danger. To shelter is to keep by covering on one side, or on all sides, especially above, from exposure. Shelter seems figurative when not applied to keeping from exposure to the weather, and protect and defend when not applied to the physical. To preserve is in various senses to protect or keep from destruction or injury : as, to preserve forests, the bank of a river, fruit, vested rights, life, or one's dignity.
  • and Observe, Commemorate, etc. See celebrate.
  • To care; be solicitous.
  • To take care; be on the watch; be heedful.
  • To lodge; dwell; hold one's self, as in an abiding-place.
  • To keep one's self; remain; stay; continue: as, to keep at a distance; to keep in with some one; to keep out of sight; hence, in familiar speech, used with a present participle almost as an auxiliary of continuous or repeated action: as, he keeps moving; she kept crying out; they have kept asking for it this hour past.
  • To last; endure; continue unimpaired.
  • 22. In printing, to save (composed type) from distribution; also, to follow rigidly the capitals or other peculiarities of (manuscript copy).
  • In cricket, to act as stumper or wicket-keeper.
  • n. Heed; notice; care.
  • n. Custody; keeping; oversight.
  • n. That which is kept or cared for; charge.
  • n. The stronghold or citadel of a medieval castle; the innermost and strongest structure or central tower.
  • n. Subsistence; board and lodging; maintenance or means of subsistence: as, the keep of a horse.
  • n. plural In coal-mining, wings, catches, or rests for holding the cage when it is brought to rest at some point, above the bottom of the shaft. See cage-shuts.
  • n. A meat-safe.
  • n. A large basket.
  • n. A reservoir for fish by the side of a river.
  • n. In mech.: A cover to protect a part of a machine from injury.
  • n. A chock; a stop; a block to prevent a piece from moving.
  • n. On a locomotive, a part of the axle-bearing which is fitted below the journal of the axle and serves to hold an oiled pad against it to furnish constant lubrication.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. maintain in safety from injury, harm, or danger
  • v. retain rights to
  • v. behave as expected during of holidays or rites
  • v. keep under control; keep in check
  • v. look after; be the keeper of; have charge of
  • n. the main tower within the walls of a medieval castle or fortress
  • n. a cell in a jail or prison
  • v. supply with room and board
  • v. stick to correctly or closely
  • n. the financial means whereby one lives
  • v. fail to spoil or rot
  • v. hold and prevent from leaving
  • v. continue a certain state, condition, or activity
  • v. allow to remain in a place or position or maintain a property or feature
  • v. maintain for use and service
  • v. maintain by writing regular records
  • v. keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g.,
  • v. prevent (food) from rotting
  • v. conform one's action or practice to
  • v. supply with necessities and support
  • v. store or keep customarily
  • v. stop (someone or something) from doing something or being in a certain state
  • v. raise
  • v. retain possession of
  • v. have as a supply

Etymologies

Middle English kepen, from Old English cēpan, to observe, seize.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English kepen ("to keep, guard, look after, watch"), from Old English cēpan ("to seize, hold, observe"), from Proto-Germanic *kōpijanan (compare West Frisian kypje ‘to look’), variant of *kapōnan (compare Old English capian ‘to look’, Dutch kapen ‘to seize, snatch’, German kapfen ‘to gape’, Danish kope ("to gawk, stare")), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵab-, *ǵāb- (“to look after”) (compare Lithuanian žẽbti ‘to eat reluctantly’, Russian забота (zabota) ‘care, worry’). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In case of falling into the water, the chief thing to do is to try to keep calm and to _keep your hands below your chin_.

    A Handbook of Health

  • He returns in haalf an hour with everything I need, and brings back this book which I keep, -- remember, gentlemen, which I _keep_, -- a mark of confidence which in this degen'rate age is refreshin '.

    Colonel Carter of Cartersville

  • If we are to _be_ in Christ when we are in Ephesus, we need to keep ourselves separate and faithful, and to _keep ourselves_ in

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians; Epistles of St. Peter and St. John

  • Once, when I was very weak with sea-sickness and wanted to keep down a dinner which I had just eaten, they insisted upon it, that, if I would only put into my mouth a piece of fat pork, and _keep it there_, my dinner would stay in its place.

    Cast Away in the Cold An Old Man's Story of a Young Man's Adventures, as Related by Captain John Hardy, Mariner

  • Berwickshire every hind was allowed to keep a few hens; and some of them actually removed for the sake of the _hen's keep_.

    The Proverbs of Scotland

  • III. i.7 (62,9) [I do lose a thing, That none but fools would keep] [W: would reck] The meaning seems plainly this, that _none but fools would_ wish _to keep life_; or, _none but fools would keep_ it, if choice were allowed.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies

  • As far as I am concerned, like the Bonds, keep making the Bourne films and we’ll judge the quality, even a bad one will be better than most of the trash released nowadays..please make more..keep them coming!

    Next BOURNE movie in South America? | Obsessed With Film

  • Very emphatical, f Gum (minx aifto&a, kttpt With aU keeping, q.d. keep, keep* fit dottbfc guilds, yout* fceam wtll be gone elfe; And this vehemency of eifcfeffi* on, with * hictf the duty is urged, plainty implied ho*r difflciUf it is to keep our hearts, and how dangerous to let them go. v

    The Whole Works of the Reverend Mr. John Flavel ...

  • The comments on MSNBC about Mr. Romney seemed to have been plucked straight from the Web site AMERICAblog, which noted on Tuesday that in the 1920s, K.K.K. literature employed the phrase "keep America American."

    NYT > Home Page

  • Give your video a title keep it short and include the celebrity's name

    Boston.com Top Stories

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Comments

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  • keep in Czech : udržet

    "I'm trying to udržet my inclination to dick around with the translation feature and waste lots of time."

    May 26, 2011

  • "The main citadel of a castle. A great tower. A fortified tower containing living quarters. A self-sufficient tower."

    August 25, 2008

  • like Robert Frost

    January 1, 2007

  • peek in reverse

    December 27, 2006