simple past tense and past participle of keep.


having the expression of principles, ideas, etc., controlled, dominated, or determined by one whose money provides support: a kept press; a kept writer.

Origin of kept

1670–80 for def 2
Related formsun·kept, adjectivewell-kept, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for well-kept

Contemporary Examples of well-kept

Historical Examples of well-kept

  • She interrupted him with an impatient wave of a well-kept hand.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • The general appearance of a well-kept van is that of a state-room.

    The Gypsies

    Charles G. Leland

  • The dresser—is there anything prettier than a well-kept dresser?

    Molly Bawn

    Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

  • They stayed that night at a small, but well-kept house, hidden in the forests.

    Plotting in Pirate Seas

    Francis Rolt-Wheeler

  • The secret of our intention had been well-kept till within a week of the day.

    Tom, Dick and Harry

    Talbot Baines Reed

British Dictionary definitions for well-kept


adjective (well kept when postpositive)

maintained in good conditionthe front lawns are well kept



the past tense and past participle of keep
kept woman censorious a woman maintained by a man as his mistress
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 well-kept

c.1400, from well (adv.) + past participle of keep.


past tense of keep (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper