1 /ki:p/ verb past tense and past participle kept /kept/
1 NOT GIVE BACK (T) to have something and not need to give it back: You can keep it. I don't need it. | Try it for a week and we guarantee you'll want to keep it.
2 NOT LOSE (T) to continue to have something and not lose it or get rid of it: No, we're going to keep the house in Vermont and rent it out. | It's not getting a job that's the problem - it's keeping it!
3 NOT CHANGE/MOVE (intransitive, linking verb) to continue to be in a particular state, condition, or place and not change or move: I'm trying to cut his hair but he won't keep still. | keep warm/safe/dry etc: With this wind it's so difficult to keep warm! | keep left/right (=stay to the left or right of a path or road as you move)
a) to make someone stay in a place: How long are they going to keep her in the hospital?
b) to make someone or something continue being in a particular state or situation: keep sb warm/safe etc: Take my overcoat. It'll keep you warm. | some toys to keep the kids busy | keep sth clean/open etc: We try to keep the major roads open right through winter. | keep sb/sth doing sth: I'll try not to keep you waiting. | Keep the engine running. | keep sb in suspense (=keep someone waiting anxiously to know a result): How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? | keep on the right side of sb (=not do anything to annoy them): Keep on the right side of Mrs Salazar, she's very strict.
5 DO STH REPEATEDLY (I, T) to continue doing an activity or repeat the same action several times: keep (on) doing sth: I keep forgetting to mail this letter. | Daddy! Melanie keeps on hitting me!
6 DELAY SB (T) to delay someone: He should be here by now. What's keeping him?
7 STORE STH (transitive always + adv/prep) to leave something in one particular place so that you can find it easily: keep sth in/on/under etc: I always keep a first aid box in the car, in case we have an accident.
8 keep a record/account/diary etc to regularly record written information somewhere
9 keep your promise/word etc to do what you have promised to do: How do I know you'll keep your word?
10 keep a secret to not tell anyone about a secret that you know: Can I trust all of you to keep a secret?
11 keep to yourself also keep yourself to yourself BrE to live a very quiet private life and not do many things that involve other people
12 keep guard/watch to guard a place or watch around you all the time
13 FOOD (I) if food keeps, it stays fresh enough to still be eaten: Eat the salmon because it won't keep till tomorrow.
14 keep your head to stay calm in a difficult situation or an emergency: Just keep your head and try to steer in the direction of the skid.
15 ANIMALS (T) to own and look after animals: We keep chickens and a couple of pigs.
16 SHOP (T) BrE old-fashioned to own a small business and work in it: Frank used to keep a butcher's on Park Road.
17 LOOK AFTER (T) to take care of someone, providing them with money, food etc: keep sb in sth: There's enough money there to keep you in silk stockings for a year!
18 PROTECT (T) formal to guard or protect someone: keep sb (from harm): The Lord bless you and keep you.
19 CELEBRATE STH (T) old-fashioned to do the things that are traditionally done to celebrate something such as Christmas: People don't keep Christmas the way they used to do.
-see also: keep in touch touch 2 (6), home/keep your eye on sb eye 1 (3), keep house house 1 (2), keep pace with pace 1 (5), keep sb company company (2), keep the peace peace (5), keep time time 1 (72), time 1 (73), keep your hand in hand 1 (11), keep/lose track of track 1 (8)
20 keep going used to encourage someone who is doing something and to tell them to continue: "Well done, that's it, keep going!"
21 keep it used to tell someone that they can keep something you have given them or lent them: Keep it. I've got plenty more at home.
22 keep quiet used to tell someone not to say anything or make any noise: Keep quiet! I'm trying to watch the game.
23 keep away/back! used to tell someone not to go near something or to move away from something: Keep back everyone - this is dangerous!
24 keep down! used to tell someone to keep near the ground so they cannot be seen, shot etc
25 keep it down used to tell someone to be quieter: Keep it down, will you. We're trying to sleep.
26 how are you keeping? used to ask if someone is well: "Hi, Mark! How are you keeping?" "Oh, not so bad."
27 keep the change used when paying someone, to tell them they can keep the extra money you have given them: "That's $18." "Here's $20. Keep the change."
28 keep your hair/shirt on! used to tell someone to be more calm, patient etc: Keep your hair on! We've got plenty of time.
29 it'll keep used to say that you can tell someone something or do something later: "I'd love to hear about it but I've got to go." "Don't worry, it'll keep."
30 that'll keep you going used to tell someone that what you are giving them will last for some time: Here's -50 - that'll keep you going for a while.
keep at phrasal verb (T)
1 (keep someone at something) to force someone to continue to work hard: She kept us at it until eight o'clock!
2 (keep at something) to continue working hard at something: Let's just keep at it until we're finished.
keep away phrasal verb (intransitive, transitive keep someone/something away) to avoid going somewhere or seeing someone, or to make someone or something do this: You keep away from my daughter! keep back phrasal verb
1 (transitive keep something back) to not tell someone something that you know: I got the feeling he was keeping something back.
2 (transitive keep something back) especially BrE to not give or pay something that you were going to give: They kept back some of his wages to pay for the damage.
keep sb/sth down phrasal verb (T)
1 to control something and prevent it from increasing: You can use herbicides to keep down the weeds.
2 to be able to not vomit something (=pass it back up from stomach) after you have eaten or drunk it: I could hardly keep anything down for about three days.
keep from phrasal verb (T)
1 (keep something from someone) to not tell someone something that you know: You won't be able to keep the truth from her father.
2 (keep someone/something from something) to prevent someone from doing something or prevent something happening: keep sb from doing sth: Mulligan was the only person who kept us from running amok completely. | keep (yourself) from doing sth: I could hardly keep from laughing, it was so funny. | keep sth from doing sth: You put the potatoes in salted water to keep them from turning black.
keep sb in phrasal verb (T) BrE to force someone to stay inside, especially as a punishment in school keep in with sb phrasal verb (T) BrE to try to stay friendly with someone, especially because this helps you: You should try to keep in with Benson - he has a lot of influence around here. keep off phrasal verb
1 (transitive keep something off) to prevent something affecting something else: They have these transparent covers to keep the dust off.
2 (I) if rain keeps off, it does not fall
keep on phrasal verb
1 keep on doing sth to continue doing something: I've told him to stop but he keeps on scratching it!
2 (transitive keep someone/something on) to continue to employ someone: If you're good they might keep you on after Christmas.
3 (I) informal to talk continuously in an annoying way
(+ at/about): Do you have to keep on about your medical problems the whole time? keep out phrasal verb
1 keep out! used on signs to tell people to stay away from a place or not enter it
2 (transitive keep something out) to prevent someone or something getting into a place: Take this. It should at least keep the rain out.
keep out of sth phrasal verb (T) to try not to become involved in something: We've always tried to keep out of local politics. keep to phrasal verb (T)
1 (keep to something) to stay on a particular road, course, piece of ground etc: It's best to keep to the paved roads.
2 (keep to something) to do what you have promised or agreed to do: Keep strictly to the terms of the contract.
3 keep sth to yourself to keep something secret: It's official. We're leaving, but do me a favour and keep it to yourself will you.
4 keep to the point/subject etc to talk or write only about the subject you are supposed to be talking about
5 (keep something to something) to prevent an amount, degree, or level from going higher than it should: Can you please keep costs to a minimum?
6 keep to your room/bed to stay in your room or bed because you are ill or upset
keep up phrasal verb
1 (transitive keep something up) to prevent something from falling or going to a lower level: The shortage of supplies is keeping the price up.
2 (intransitive, transitive keep something up) to continue doing something, or to make something continue: Keep up the good work! | I don't think I can keep this up any longer.
3 (I) to manage to go or learn as fast as someone: Slow down, Davey can't keep up.
(+ with): I'm having trouble keeping up with the rest of the class.
4 (I) to continue to read and learn about a particular subject
(+ with): It's hard to keep up with the changes in computer technology.
5 keep your spirits/strength/morale etc up to try to stay happy, strong, confident etc: We sang as we marched, to keep our spirits up.
6 (transitive keep someone up) informal to prevent someone from going to bed: I hope I'm not keeping you up.
7 keep up appearances to pretend that everything in your life is normal and happy even though you are in trouble, especially financial trouble
8 keep up with the Joneses to try to have all the possessions that your friends have because you want people to think that you are as good as them
2 noun (C)
1 (U) all the things such as food, clothing etc that you need to keep you alive, or the cost of providing this: earn your keep (=do things in return for the things that are provided for you): It's time you got a job and started earning your keep.
2 for keeps informal for ever: I'm going to settle this argument for keeps! | Marriage ought to be for keeps.
3 (C) a large strong tower, usually in the centre of a castle

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • keep — vb 1 Keep, observe, celebrate, solemnize, commemorate are comparable when they mean to pay proper attention or honor to something prescribed, obligatory, or demanded (as by one s nationality, religion, or rank), but they vary widely in their… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • keep — [kēp] vt. kept, keeping [ME kepen < OE cœpan, to behold, watch out for, lay hold of, akin to MLowG kapen, ON kopa, to stare at < ? IE base * ĝab , to look at or for] 1. to observe or pay regard to; specif., a) to observe with due or… …   English World dictionary

  • Keep — Keep, v. i. 1. To remain in any position or state; to continue; to abide; to stay; as, to keep at a distance; to keep aloft; to keep near; to keep in the house; to keep before or behind; to keep in favor; to keep out of company, or out reach.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • keep — ► VERB (past and past part. kept) 1) have or retain possession of. 2) retain or reserve for use in the future. 3) put or store in a regular place. 4) (of a perishable commodity) remain in good condition. 5) continue in a specified condition,… …   English terms dictionary

  • Keep — Keep, n. 1. The act or office of keeping; custody; guard; care; heed; charge. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Pan, thou god of shepherds all, Which of our tender lambkins takest keep. Spenser. [1913 Webster] 2. The state of being kept; hence, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • keep — keep; green·keep·er; house·keep; house·keep·er; keep·able; keep·er·ing; keep·er·ship; keep·sake; store·keep; keep·er; …   English syllables

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  • keep — I (continue) verb be constant, be steadfast, carry forward, carry on, endure, extend, forge ahead, go on, keep going, last, lengthen, live on, maintain, move ahead, never cease, perpetuate, perseverare, persevere, persist, press onward, progress …   Law dictionary

  • keep — The construction keep + object + from + ing verb is idiomatic in current English: • His hands held flat over his ears as if to keep his whole head from flying apart Martin Amis, 1978. The intransitive use of keep + from + ing verb is recorded in… …   Modern English usage

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