Etymology: Middle English kepen, from Old English cēpan; perhaps akin to Old High German chapfēn to look
Date: before 12th century
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> b. (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> d. (1) to cause to remain in a given place, situation, or condition <keep him waiting> (2) to preserve (food) in an unspoiled condition e. (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> f. (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 3. 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> 4. 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> 6. 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 2. 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>: as 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 Synonyms: 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>. Synonyms: 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 1. 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
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.