Meaning of KEEP in English


I. ˈkēp verb

( kept ˈkept ; keep·ing )

Etymology: Middle English kepen, from Old English cēpan; perhaps akin to Old High German chapfēn to look

Date: before 12th century

transitive verb

1. : to take notice of by appropriate conduct : fulfill : as

a. : to be faithful to

keep a promise

b. : to act fittingly in relation to

keep the Sabbath

c. : to conform to in habits or conduct

keep late hours

d. : to stay in accord with (a beat)

keep time

2. : preserve , maintain : as

a. : to watch over and defend

keep us from harm


(1) : to take care of : tend

keep a garden

(2) : support

(3) : to maintain in a good, fitting, or orderly condition — usually used with up

c. : to continue to maintain

keep watch


(1) : to cause to remain in a given place, situation, or condition

keep him waiting

(2) : to preserve (food) in an unspoiled condition


(1) : to have or maintain in an established position or relationship

keep a mistress

— often used with on

kept the cook on

(2) : to lodge or feed for pay

keep boarders


(1) : to maintain a record in

keep a diary

(2) : to enter in a book

keep records

g. : to have customarily in stock for sale


a. : to restrain from departure or removal : detain

keep children after school

b. : hold back , restrain

keep them from going

kept him back with difficulty

c. : save , reserve

keep some for later

kept some out for a friend

d. : to refrain from revealing

keep a secret


a. : to retain in one's possession or power

kept the money we found

b. : to refrain from granting, giving, or allowing

kept the news back

c. : to have in control

keep your temper

5. : to confine oneself to

keep my room


a. : to stay or continue in

keep the path

keep your seat

b. : to stay or remain on or in usually against opposition : hold

kept her ground

7. : conduct , manage

keep a tearoom

intransitive verb

1. chiefly British : live , lodge


a. : to maintain a course, direction, or progress

keep to the right

b. : to continue usually without interruption

keep talking

keep quiet

keep on smiling

c. : to persist in a practice

kept bothering them

kept on smoking in spite of warnings

3. : stay , remain

keep out of the way

keep off the grass


a. : to stay even — usually used with up

keep up with the Joneses

b. : to remain in good condition

meat will keep in the freezer

c. : to remain secret

the secret would keep

d. : to call for no immediate action

the matter will keep until morning

4. : abstain , refrain

can't keep from talking

5. : to be in session

school will keep through the winter — W. M. Thayer

6. of a quarterback : to retain possession of a football especially after faking a handoff

- keep an eye on

- keep at

- keep company

- keep house

- keep one's distance

- keep one's eyes open

- keep one's hand in

- keep one's head down

- keep one's nose clean

- keep pace

- keep step

- keep to

- keep to oneself


keep , observe , celebrate , commemorate mean to notice or honor a day, occasion, or deed. keep stresses the idea of not neglecting or violating

kept the Sabbath by refraining from work

observe suggests marking the occasion by ceremonious performance

not all holidays are observed nationally

celebrate suggests acknowledging an occasion by festivity

traditionally celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge dinner

commemorate suggests that an occasion is marked by observances that remind one of the origin and significance of the event

commemorate Memorial Day with the laying of wreaths


keep , retain , detain , withhold , reserve mean to hold in one's possession or under one's control. keep may suggest a holding securely in one's possession, custody, or control

keep this while I'm gone

retain implies continued keeping, especially against threatened seizure or forced loss

managed to retain their dignity even in poverty

detain suggests a delay in letting go

detained them for questioning

withhold implies restraint in letting go or a refusal to let go

withheld information from the authorities

reserve suggests a keeping in store for future use

reserve some of your energy for the last mile

II. noun

Date: 1579


a. archaic : custody , charge

b. : maintenance

2. : one that keeps or protects: as

a. : fortress , castle ; specifically : the strongest and securest part of a medieval castle

b. : one whose job is to keep or tend

c. : prison , jail

3. : the means or provisions by which one is kept

earned his keep

4. : keeper 5

- for keeps

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.