keep

To keep means to have and hold on to something — like to keep your wallet in your pocket. It also means to continue; if you keep hula hooping you’ll break the world record!

Keep has many senses in English, and shows up in a lot of our common expressions, like “keep out!" and "keep your shirt on!" The word generally has the senses of hold onto, maintain, stay, continue, or protect from harm. Food that will not spoil yet will keep. You can keep a secret, keep a diary, or keep your little sister safe. You can also keep a ritual or religious custom by practicing it –- like to keep kosher. Whatever you do, “just keep going.”

Definitions of keep
  1. verb
    continue a certain state, condition, or activity
    Keep on working!”
    Keep smiling”
    synonyms: continue, go along, go on, proceed
    bear on, carry on, continue, preserve, uphold
    keep or maintain in unaltered condition; cause to remain or last
    continue
    continue after an interruption
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    Antonyms:
    discontinue
    come to or be at an end
    types:
    hold
    remain in a certain state, position, or condition
    keep going, run on
    continue uninterrupted
    ride
    continue undisturbed and without interference
    type of:
    act, move
    perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)
  2. verb
    fail to spoil or rot
    “These potatoes keep for a long time”
    synonyms: stay fresh
    preserve
    prevent (food) from rotting
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    type of:
    remain, rest, stay
    stay the same; remain in a certain state
  3. verb
    keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g., "keep clean"
    “The students keep me on my toes”
    synonyms: hold, maintain
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    types:
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    pressurise, pressurize
    maintain a certain pressure
    bear on, carry on, continue, preserve, uphold
    keep or maintain in unaltered condition; cause to remain or last
    hold over
    keep in a position or state from an earlier period of time
    conserve
    keep constant through physical or chemical reactions or evolutionary change
    preserve
    keep undisturbed for personal or private use for hunting, shooting, or fishing
    distance
    keep at a distance
    housekeep
    maintain a household; take care of all business related to a household
    re-start, restart, resume
    take up or begin anew
    hang in, hang on, hold on, persevere, persist
    be persistent, refuse to stop
    perpetuate
    cause to continue or prevail
    keep up, prolong, sustain
    lengthen or extend in duration or space
    mummify
    preserve while making lifeless
  4. verb
    prevent (food) from rotting
    keep potatoes fresh”
    synonyms: preserve
    stay fresh
    fail to spoil or rot
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    types:
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    freeze-dry
    preserve by rapid freezing and subsequently drying in a vacuum
    conserve
    preserve with sugar
    dehydrate, desiccate
    preserve by removing all water and liquids from
    pickle
    preserve in a pickling liquid
    salt
    preserve with salt
    can, put up, tin
    preserve in a can or tin
    refrigerate
    preserve by chilling
    cure
    prepare by drying, salting, or chemical processing in order to preserve
    corn
    preserve with salt
    lyophilise, lyophilize
    to dry (blood, serum, or tissue) by freezing in a high vacuum
    dun
    cure by salting
    type of:
    cook, fix, make, prepare, ready
    prepare for eating by applying heat
  5. verb
    keep under control; keep in check
    Keep your temper”
    keep your cool”
    synonyms: hold back, keep back, restrain
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    types:
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    hold
    keep from exhaling or expelling
    confine
    prevent from leaving or from being removed
    bottle up, inhibit, suppress
    control and refrain from showing; of emotions, desires, impulses, or behavior
    check, contain, control, curb, hold, hold in, moderate
    lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits
    bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
    place limits on (extent or access)
    conquer, curb, inhibit, stamp down, subdue, suppress
    to put down by force or authority
    damp
    restrain or discourage
    cabin
    confine to a small space, such as a cabin
    closet
    confine to a small space, as for intensive work
    coop in, coop up
    confine in or as if in a coop
    lock, lock away, lock in, lock up, put away, shut away, shut up
    place in a place where something cannot be removed or someone cannot escape
    lock in, seal in
    close with or as if with a tight seal
    crucify, mortify, subdue
    hold within limits and control
    abnegate, deny
    deny oneself (something); restrain, especially from indulging in some pleasure
    hold back, keep back, restrain
    keep under control; keep in check
    quench
    electronics: suppress (sparking) when the current is cut off in an inductive circuit, or suppress (an oscillation or discharge) in a component or device
    choke
    check or slow down the action or effect of
    restrict
    place under restrictions; limit access to
    train
    cause to grow in a certain way by tying and pruning it
    catch
    check oneself during an action
    bate
    moderate or restrain; lessen the force of
    thermostat
    control the temperature with a thermostat
    counteract, countercheck
    oppose or check by a counteraction
    type of:
    bottle up, inhibit, suppress
    control and refrain from showing; of emotions, desires, impulses, or behavior
  6. verb
    allow to remain in a place or position or maintain a property or feature
    “The family's fortune waned and they could not keep their household staff”
    “Our grant has run out and we cannot keep you on”
    “We kept the work going as long as we could”
    synonyms: continue, keep on, retain
    continue, persist in
    do something repeatedly and showing no intention to stop
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    type of:
    keep up, prolong, sustain
    lengthen or extend in duration or space
  7. verb
    stop (someone or something) from doing something or being in a certain state
    “His snoring kept me from falling asleep”
    Keep the child from eating the marbles”
    synonyms: prevent
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    Antonyms:
    allow, let, permit
    make it possible through a specific action or lack of action for something to happen
    types:
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    defend
    be on the defensive; act against an attack
    exclude, keep out, shut, shut out
    prevent from entering; shut out
    hold
    keep from departing
    keep away
    prevent from coming close
    blank
    keep the opposing (baseball) team from winning
    hinder, impede
    be a hindrance or obstacle to
    rain out, wash out
    prevent or interrupt due to rain
    preempt
    take action to prevent someone else from acting
    curse, excommunicate, unchurch
    exclude from a church or a religious community
    bulwark
    defend with a bulwark
    protect, secure
    shield from danger, injury, destruction, or damage
    ward off
    avert, turn away, or repel
    arrest, check, contain, hold back, stop, turn back
    hold back, as of a danger or an enemy; check the expansion or influence of
    block, close up, impede, jam, obstruct, obturate, occlude
    block passage through
    lock out
    prevent employees from working during a strike
    inhibit
    limit, block, or decrease the action or function of
    interfere
    come between so as to be hindrance or obstacle
    set back
    slow down the progress of; hinder
    hobble
    hamper the action or progress of
    stunt
    check the growth or development of
    ostracise, ostracize
    avoid speaking to or dealing with
  8. verb
    hold and prevent from leaving
    “The student was kept after school”
    Synonyms:
    prevent
    stop (someone or something) from doing something or being in a certain state
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    type of:
    confine, detain
    deprive of freedom; take into confinement
  9. noun
    the main tower within the walls of a medieval castle or fortress
    synonyms: donjon, dungeon
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    examples:
    Black Hole of Calcutta
    a dungeon (20 feet square) in a fort in Calcutta where as many as 146 English prisoners were held overnight by Siraj-ud-daula; the next morning only 23 were still alive
    type of:
    fastness, stronghold
    a strongly fortified defensive structure
  10. noun
    a cell in a jail or prison
    synonyms: hold
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    type of:
    cell, jail cell, prison cell
    a room where a prisoner is kept
  11. verb
    retain rights to
    keep my job for me while I give birth”
    keep my seat, please”
    keep open the possibility of a merger”
    synonyms: hold open, keep open, save
    hold on
    retain possession of
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    type of:
    book, hold, reserve
    arrange for and reserve (something for someone else) in advance
  12. verb
    retain possession of
    “Can I keep my old stuffed animals?”
    “She kept her maiden name after she married”
    synonyms: hold on
    hold open, keep open, save
    retain rights to
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    Antonyms:
    lose
    fail to keep or to maintain; cease to have, either physically or in an abstract sense
    types:
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    carry over, hold over
    hold over goods to be sold for the next season
    deny, refuse
    refuse to let have
    deduct, recoup, withhold
    retain and refrain from disbursing; of payments
    preserve, save
    to keep up and reserve for personal or special use
    hive away, lay in, put in, salt away, stack away, stash away, store
    keep or lay aside for future use
    store
    find a place for and put away for storage
    hold, hold back, keep back, retain
    secure and keep for possible future use or application
    harbor, harbour
    keep in one's possession; of animals
    enter, put down, record
    make a record of; set down in permanent form
    garner
    store grain
    bin
    store in bins
    keep back, withhold
    hold back; refuse to hand over or share
    dock
    deduct from someone's wages
    computerise, computerize
    store in a computer
    conserve, economise, economize, husband
    use cautiously and frugally
    victual
    lay in provisions
    mothball
    put into long-term storage
    reposit
    put (something) in a place for storage
    wharf
    store on a wharf
    tank
    store in a tank by causing (something) to flow into it
    loft
    store in a loft
    warehouse
    store in a warehouse
    garage
    keep or store in a garage
    bottle
    store (liquids or gases) in bottles
    ensile
    store in a silo
    hold down
    keep
    accumulate, amass, collect, compile, hoard, pile up, roll up
    get or gather together
    hive
    store, like bees
    type of:
    have, have got, hold
    have or possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense
  13. verb
    have as a supply
    “I always keep batteries in the freezer”
    keep food for a week in the pantry”
    “She keeps a sixpack and a week's worth of supplies in the refrigerator”
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    type of:
    have, have got, hold
    have or possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense
  14. verb
    store or keep customarily
    “Where do you keep your gardening tools?”
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    type of:
    store
    find a place for and put away for storage
  15. verb
    maintain for use and service
    “I keep a car in the countryside”
    “She keeps an apartment in Paris for her shopping trips”
    synonyms: maintain
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    type of:
    have, have got, hold
    have or possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense
  16. verb
    look after; be the keeper of; have charge of
    “He keeps the shop when I am gone”
    Synonyms:
    preserve
    maintain in safety from injury, harm, or danger
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    types:
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    conserve, keep up, maintain, preserve
    keep in safety and protect from harm, decay, loss, or destruction
    embalm
    preserve a dead body
    plastinate
    preserve (tissue) with plastics, as for teaching and research purposes
    hold the line
    hold the line on prices; keep the price of something constant
    type of:
    have, have got, hold
    have or possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense
  17. verb
    raise
    “She keeps a few chickens in the yard”
    “he keeps bees”
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    types:
    herd
    keep, move, or drive animals
    wrangle
    herd and care for
    type of:
    farm, grow, produce, raise
    cultivate by growing, often involving improvements by means of agricultural techniques
  18. verb
    supply with necessities and support
    “There's little to earn and many to keep
    synonyms: maintain, sustain
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    types:
    patronage
    support by being a patron of
    reseed
    maintain by seeding without human intervention
    carry
    keep up with financial support
    type of:
    have, have got, hold
    have or possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense
  19. verb
    supply with room and board
    “He is keeping three women in the guest cottage”
    keep boarders”
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    type of:
    accommodate, lodge
    provide housing for
  20. verb
    maintain in safety from injury, harm, or danger
    “May God keep you”
    synonyms: preserve
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    type of:
    protect, secure
    shield from danger, injury, destruction, or damage
  21. noun
    the financial means whereby one lives
    “each child was expected to pay for their keep
    synonyms: bread and butter, livelihood, living, support, sustenance
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    types:
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    amenities, comforts, conveniences, creature comforts
    things that make you comfortable and at ease
    maintenance
    means of maintenance of a family or group
    meal ticket
    a source of income or livelihood
    subsistence
    minimal (or marginal) resources for subsisting
    type of:
    resource
    available source of wealth; a new or reserve supply that can be drawn upon when needed
  22. verb
    stick to correctly or closely
    “The pianist kept time with the metronome”
    keep count”
    “I cannot keep track of all my employees”
    synonyms: maintain, observe
  23. verb
    conform one's action or practice to
    keep appointments”
    “she never keeps her promises”
    “We kept to the original conditions of the contract”
    synonyms: observe
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    Antonyms:
    breach, break, go against, infract, offend, transgress, violate
    act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises
    types:
    make good
    act as promised
  24. verb
    behave as expected during of holidays or rites
    Keep the commandments”
    synonyms: celebrate, observe
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    types:
    commemorate, mark
    mark by some ceremony or observation
    mourn
    observe the customs of mourning after the death of a loved one
    solemnise, solemnize
    observe or perform with dignity or gravity
  25. verb
    maintain by writing regular records
    keep a diary”
    keep notes”
    synonyms: maintain
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    type of:
    enter, put down, record
    make a record of; set down in permanent form
Word Family