Keep v. t. [imp. & p. p. Kept p. pr. & vb. n. Keeping.]
1. To care; to desire. [Obs.]
I kepe not of armes for to yelp [boast]. --Chaucer.
2. 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.
If we lose the field,
We can not keep the town. --Shak.
That I may know what keeps me here with you. --Dryden.
If we would weigh and keep in our minds what we are considering, that would instruct us. --Locke.
3. To cause to remain in a given situation or condition; to maintain unchanged; to hold or preserve in any state or tenor.
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal. --Milton.
Keep a stiff rein, and move but gently on. --Addison.
Note: ☞ In this sense it is often used with prepositions and adverbs, as to keep away, to keep down, to keep from, to keep in, out, or off, etc. “To keep off impertinence and solicitation from his superior.”
4. To have in custody; to have in some place for preservation; to take charge of.
The crown of Stephanus, first king of Hungary, was always kept in the castle of Vicegrade. --Knolles.
5. To preserve from danger, harm, or loss; to guard.
Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee. --Gen. xxviii. 15.
6. To preserve from discovery or publicity; not to communicate, reveal, or betray, as a secret.
Great are thy virtues . . . though kept from man. --Milton.
7. To attend upon; to have the care of; to tend.
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it. --Gen. ii. 15.
In her girlish age, she kept sheep on the moor. --Carew.
8. To record transactions, accounts, or events in; as, to keep books, a journal, etc.; also, to enter (as accounts, records, etc. ) in a book.
9. To maintain, as an establishment, institution, or the like; to conduct; to manage; as, to keep store.
Like a pedant that keeps a school. --Shak.
Every one of them kept house by himself. --Hayward.
10. To supply with necessaries of life; to entertain; as, to keep boarders.
11. To have in one's service; to have and maintain, as an assistant, a servant, a mistress, a horse, etc.
I keep but three men and a boy. --Shak.
12. To have habitually in stock for sale.
13. To continue in, as a course or mode of action; not to intermit or fall from; to hold to; to maintain; as, to keep silence; to keep one's word; to keep possession.
Both day and night did we keep company. --Shak.
Within this portal as I kept my watch. --Smollett.
14. 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.
I have kept the faith. --2 Tim. iv. 7.
Him whom to love is to obey, and keep
His great command. --Milton.
15. To confine one's self to; not to quit; to remain in; as, to keep one's house, room, bed, etc.; hence, to haunt; to frequent.
'Tis hallowed ground;
Fairies, and fawns, and satyrs do it keep. --J. Fletcher.
16. To observe duly, as a festival, etc.; to celebrate; to solemnize; as, to keep a feast.
I went with them to the house of God . . . with a multitude that kept holyday. --Ps. xlii. 4.
To keep at arm's length. See under Arm, n.
To keep back. (a) To reserve; to withhold. “I will keep nothing back from you.” --Jer. xlii. 4. (b) To restrain; to hold back. “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins.” --Ps. xix. 13.
To keep company with. (a) To frequent the society of; to associate with; as, let youth keep company with the wise and good. (b) To accompany; to go with; as, to keep company with one on a voyage; also, to pay court to, or accept attentions from, with a view to marriage. [Colloq.]
To keep counsel. See under Counsel, n.
To keep down. (a) To hold in subjection; to restrain; to hinder. (b) Fine Arts To subdue in tint or tone, as a portion of a picture, so that the spectator's attention may not be diverted from the more important parts of the work.
To keep good hours or To keep bad hours, to be customarily early (or late) in returning home or in retiring to rest.
To keep house. (a) To occupy a separate house or establishment, as with one's family, as distinguished from boarding; to manage domestic affairs. (b) Eng. Bankrupt Law To seclude one's self in one's house in order to evade the demands of creditors.
To keep one's hand in, to keep in practice.
To keep open house, to be hospitable.
To keep the peace Law, to avoid or to prevent a breach of the peace.
To keep school, to govern, manage and instruct or teach a school, as a preceptor.
To keep a stiff upper lip, to keep up one's courage. [Slang]
To keep term. (a) Eng. Universities To reside during a term. (b) Inns of Court To eat a sufficient number of dinners in hall to make the term count for the purpose of being called to the bar. [Eng.] --Mozley & W.
To keep touch. See under Touch, n.
To keep under, to hold in subjection; hence, to oppress.
To keep up. (a) To maintain; to prevent from falling or diminution; as, to keep up the price of goods; to keep up one's credit. (b) To maintain; to continue; to prevent from ceasing. “In joy, that which keeps up the action is the desire to continue it.”
Syn: -- To retain; detain; reserve; preserve; hold; restrain; maintain; sustain; support; withhold. -- To Keep. Usage: Retain, Preserve. Keep is the generic term, and is often used where retain or preserve would too much restrict the meaning; as, to keep silence, etc. Retain denotes that we keep or hold things, as against influences which might deprive us of them, or reasons which might lead us to give them up; as, to retain vivacity in old age; to retain counsel in a lawsuit; to retain one's servant after a reverse of fortune. Preserve denotes that we keep a thing against agencies which might lead to its being destroyed or broken in upon; as, to preserve one's health; to preserve appearances.
kept imp. & p. p. of Keep.
Kept woman, Kept mistress, a concubine; a woman supported by a man as his paramour.
adj : (especially of promises or contracts) not violated or
disregarded; "unbroken promises"; "promises kept" [syn:
unbroken] [ant: broken]
n 1: the financial means whereby one lives; "each child was
expected to pay for their keep"; "he applied to the
state for support"; "he could no longer earn his own
livelihood" [syn: support, livelihood, living, bread
and butter, sustenance]
2: the main tower within the walls of a medieval castle or
fortress [syn: donjon, dungeon]
3: a cell in a jail or prison [syn: hold]
v 1: keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g., "keep
clean"; "hold in place"; "She always held herself as a
lady"; "The students keep me on my toes" [syn: maintain,
2: continue a certain state, condition, or activity; "Keep on
working!"; "We continued to work into the night"; "Keep
smiling"; "We went on working until well past midnight"
[syn: continue, go on, proceed, go along] [ant: discontinue]
3: retain possession of; "Can I keep my old stuffed animals?";
"She kept her maiden name after she married" [syn: hold
on] [ant: lose]
4: prevent from doing something or being in a certain state;
"We must prevent the cancer from spreading"; "His snoring
kept me from falling asleep"; "Keep the child from eating
the marbles" [syn: prevent] [ant: let]
5: conform one's action or practice to; "keep appointments";
"she never keeps her promises"; "We kept to the original
conditions of the contract" [syn: observe]
6: observe correctly or closely; "The pianist kept time with
the metronome"; "keep count"; "I cannot keep track of all
my employees" [syn: observe, maintain]
7: look after; be the keeper of; have charge of; "He keeps the
shop when I am gone"
8: maintain by writing regular records; "keep a diary";
"maintain a record"; "keep notes" [syn: maintain]
9: supply with room and board; "He is keeping three women in
the guest cottage"; "keep boarders"
10: allow to remain in a place or position; "We cannot continue
several servants any longer"; "She retains a lawyer";
"The family's fortune waned and they could not keep their
household staff"; "Our grant has run out and we cannot
keep you on"; "We kept the work going as long as we
could" [syn: retain, continue, keep on, keep going]
11: supply with necessities and support; "She alone sustained
her family"; "The money will sustain our good cause";
"There's little to earn and many to keep" [syn: sustain,
12: fail to spoil or rot; "These potatoes keep for a long time"
[syn: stay fresh]
13: celebrate, as of holidays or rites; "Keep the commandments";
"celebrate Christmas"; "Observe Yom Kippur" [syn: observe,
14: keep under control; keep in check; "suppress a smile"; "Keep
your temper"; "keep your cool" [syn: restrain, suppress,
keep back, hold back]
15: maintain in safety from injury, harm, or danger; "May God
keep you" [syn: preserve]
16: raise; "She keeps a few chickens in the yard"; "he keeps
17: retain rights to; "keep my job for me while I give birth";
"keep my seat, please"; "keep open the possibility of a
merger" [syn: keep open, hold open, save]
18: store or keep customarily; "Where do you keep your gardening
19: have as a supply; "I always keep batteries in the freezer";
"keep food for a week in the pantry"; "She keeps a
sixpack and a week's worth of supplies in the
20: maintain for use and service; "I keep a car in the
countryside"; "She keeps an apartment in Paris for her
shopping trips" [syn: maintain]
21: hold and prevent from leaving; "The student was kept after
22: prevent (food) from rotting; "preserved meats"; "keep
potatoes fresh" [syn: preserve]