Idioms

Origin of keep

before 1000; Middle English kepen, Old English cēpan to observe, heed, watch, await, take; perhaps akin to Old English gecōp proper, fitting, capian to look, Old Norse kōpa to stare

SYNONYMS FOR keep

1 Keep, reserve, retain, withhold refer to having and holding in possession. Keep (a common word) and retain (a more formal one) agree in meaning to continue to have or hold, as opposed to losing, parting with, or giving up: to keep a book for a week. To reserve is to keep for some future use, occasion, or recipient, or to hold back for a time: to reserve judgment. To withhold is generally to hold back altogether: to withhold help.
6 preserve.
8 detain, confine.
41 donjon, dungeon, stronghold.

Related forms

keep·a·ble, adjectivekeep·a·bil·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for keep on (1 of 2)

keep on

verb (adverb)

to continue or persist in (doing something)keep on running
(tr) to continue to wear
(tr) to continue to employthe firm kept on only ten men
(intr foll by about) to persist in talking (about)
(intr foll by at) to nag (a person)

British Dictionary definitions for keep on (2 of 2)

keep

/ (kiːp) /

verb keeps, keeping or kept (kɛpt)


noun

Word Origin for keep

Old English cēpan to observe; compare Old Saxon kapōn to look, Old Norse kōpa to stare
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with keep on (1 of 2)

keep on

1

Continue, persist, as in They kept on singing all night. [Late 1500s]


2

Maintain an existing situation, as in After Mr. Brown died, the housekeeper wondered if she would be kept on. [Mid-1600s]

3

Cause to stay on or remain attached, as in Keep your coat on; it's cold in here. [Late 1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with keep on (2 of 2)

keep

In addition to the idioms beginning with keep

  • keep abreast of
  • keep a civil tongue in one's head
  • keep after
  • keep a low profile
  • keep an eye on
  • keep an eye out for
  • keep a sharp lookout
  • keep a stiff upper lip
  • keep a straight face
  • keep at
  • keep at arm's length
  • keep a weather eye out
  • keep back
  • keep body and soul together
  • keep company
  • keep cool
  • keep down
  • keep from
  • keep house
  • keeping up with the Joneses
  • keep in mind
  • keep in the dark
  • keep in touch
  • keep in with
  • keep it up
  • keep late hours
  • keep off
  • keep on
  • keep one's chin up
  • keep one's cool
  • keep one's distance
  • keep oneself to oneself
  • keep one's end up
  • keep one's eye on the ball
  • keep one's eyes open
  • keep one's fingers crossed
  • keep one's hand in
  • keep one's hands off
  • keep one's head
  • keep one's mouth shut
  • keep one's nose clean
  • keep one's nose to the grindstone
  • keep one's own counsel
  • keep one's powder dry
  • keep one's shirt on
  • keep one's temper
  • keep one's wits about one
  • keep one's word
  • keep pace
  • keep posted
  • keep quiet
  • keep tabs on
  • keep the ball rolling
  • keep the lid on
  • keep the peace
  • keep the wolf from the door
  • keep time
  • keep to
  • keep to oneself
  • keep track
  • keep under one's hat
  • keep under wraps
  • keep up
  • keep watch
  • keep your . . .

also see:

  • earn one's keep
  • finders keepers, losers weepers
  • for keeps
  • in keeping
  • (keep someone) in the dark

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.