Nearby words

  1. keene's cement,
  2. keener,
  3. keening,
  4. keenly,
  5. keenness,
  6. keep a civil tongue in one's head,
  7. keep a low profile,
  8. keep a sharp lookout,
  9. keep a stiff upper lip,
  10. keep a straight face

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 formskeep·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 up

keep up

verb (adverb)

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

Word Origin and History for keep up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with keep up

keep up

1

Also, keep up with. Proceed at the same pace, continue alongside another, as in We try to keep up with the times. [First half of 1600s] This usage, also put as keep pace, appears in the phrase keeping up with the Joneses, which was coined in 1913 by cartoonist Arthur R. Momand for the title of a series in the New York Globe. It means “trying to match the lifestyle of one's more affluent neighbors or acquaintances.” For example, Their buying a new van is just another attempt to keep up with the Joneses.

2

Support, sustain, as in They're trying to keep up their spirits while they wait for news of the crash. [Late 1600s] Also see keep one's chin up.

3

Maintain in good condition, as in Joan really kept up the property. [Mid-1500s] This usage also appears in the idiom keep up appearances, meaning “to maintain a good front, make things look good even if they're not,” as in She was devastated by his bad prognosis but is trying hard to keep up appearances for their children. [Mid-1700s]

4

Persevere, carry on, prolong, as in Keep up the good work, or How long will this noise keep up? [Early 1500s] Also see keep it up.

5

Also, keep up with; keep up on. Stay in touch, remain informed. For example, Ann and I haven't seen each other since college, but we keep up through our annual Christmas letters, or We subscribe to three papers so as to keep up on current events. [c. 1900]

6

keep someone up. Cause someone to remain out of bed, as in He's keeping up the children beyond their bedtime. [Mid-1700s]

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.