keep Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Definition of “keep” - English Dictionary

"keep" in American English

See all translations

keepverb

us   /kip/ past tense and past participle kept /kept/
  • keep verb (POSSESS)

[T] to be in or continue to be in someone’s possession: Can I keep this photo? "Keep the change," she told the driver. We keep aspirin in the kitchen (= have it there for future use).
[T] If you keep a diary or record, you write about events or record information.
  • keep verb (DO)

[T] to do something you promised or had scheduled: I kept my promise. Did she keep her appointment? Can you keep a secret (= not tell other people)?
  • keep verb (STAY)

to stay or cause to stay or continue in a particular place, direction, or condition: [L] keep left [L] keep quiet [L] It’s hard to keep cool in this weather. [T] Sorry to keep you waiting.
  • keep verb (CONTINUE DOING)

[T] to continue doing something without stopping, or to do it repeatedly: I keep thinking I’ve seen her somewhere before.
  • keep verb (STAY FRESH)

[I] (of food) to stay fresh and in good condition: Milk keeps longer in the refrigerator.
(Definition of keep from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)







"keep" in British English

See all translations

keepverb

uk   /kiːp/ us   /kiːp/ kept, kept
  • keep verb (CONTINUE TO HAVE)

A2 [T] to have or continue to have in your possession: Do you want this photograph back or can I keep it? Keep medicines in a locked cupboard (= store them there).
See also
[T] to own and manage a small shop: My uncle kept a little tobacconist's in Gloucester.
B2 [T] If you keep animals, you own and take care of them, but not in your home as pets: to keep pigs/goats/chickens
[T] US to watch and care for someone's children while their parents are away: Jody will keep the children while I shop.
keep your promise/word
B2 to do what you have told someone that you would do: I made a promise to you and I intend to keep it.
keep an appointment
to go to a meeting or event that has been arranged: She phoned to say she couldn't keep her appointment.
keep a diary, an account, a record, etc.
B2 to make a regular record of events or other information so that you can refer to it later: I've kept a diary for twelve years now. Keep an account of how much you're spending.
keep a secret
B1 to not tell anyone a secret that you know
keep time
(of a watch or clock) to show the correct time: Does your watch keep good time?
keep goal
to be the player who defends your team's goal by trying to prevent players from the other team scoring goals

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • keep verb (STAY)

A2 [L only + adj, T] to (cause to) stay in a particular place or condition: I wish you'd keep quiet. I like to keep busy. Keep left (= stay on the road to the left) at the traffic lights. Can you keep the dog outside, please? [+ obj + adj ] Close the door to keep the room warm. The noise from their party kept me awake half the night.
keep sth quiet
to not tell people about something: They managed to keep the school's problems quiet for a while. You're a qualified skiing instructor? You kept that quiet!

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • keep verb (CONTINUE DOING)

B1 [I + -ing verb] also keep on to continue doing something without stopping, or to do it repeatedly: He keeps trying to distract me. I keep on thinking I've seen her before somewhere. I kept hoping that he'd phone me.
keep going
to continue in the same way as before: If things keep going like this, we'll have to close the business.
to continue to do something or to live normally in a difficult situation: Sometimes it was hard to keep going, but we did it for the children's sake.
keep sb going
to help someone to continue doing something or living normally, especially in a difficult situation: It was my friends that kept me going through all this.
informal to prevent someone from getting too hungry when they have to wait to eat a meal: Have a piece of fruit to keep you going.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • keep verb (DELAY)

B1 [T] to delay someone or prevent them from doing something: He's very late - what's keeping him? [+ -ing verb] I'm so sorry to keep you waiting. She kept me talking on the phone for half an hour. I hope I'm not keeping you up (= preventing you from going to bed).
[I] If you say that news or information for someone can keep, you mean that you can tell it to them later: "I must tell you something." "Can't it keep? I'm in a hurry!" Whatever your news is, it will keep.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

keepnoun

uk   /kiːp/ us   /kiːp/
(Definition of keep from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"keep" in Business English

See all translations

keepverb

uk   /kiːp/ us   kept, kept
[T] to have or continue to have something, and not lose it or have to give it back to somebody: There is going to be a reorganization, but all the staff in the department will keep their jobs. On arrival, you will be given an information pack, which is yours to keep. Please keep all invoices relating to the sale.
[T] to have available or for sale: We always keep a good supply of the most popular magazines.
[T] to store something in a particular place: Where do we keep the items that are not on display? They kept his details on file for future use.
[I or T] to stay, or make something stay, in a particular place or condition: When there's a crisis at work, it's important for managers to keep calm and be supportive.keep sth moving/working/operating You must keep the assembly line moving at a steady rate. keep sth organized/clean/available The bank's policy is to keep interest rates low.
[T] also keep on to continue to do something, or to do something again and again: He kept missing deadlines.keep (on) doing sth We kept on working long after everyone else had gone home.
[T] to own and manage a small store: His father kept a candy store in this neighborhood.
[I] if food keeps, it stays fresh and in good condition: This variety of apple keeps well.
keep an account/a record/a note
to make a record of events or other information so that you can refer to it later: We keep a record of every sale in this database. Always keep an account of how much you're spending.
keep an appointment
to go to a meeting or event that has been arranged: She phoned to say she couldn't keep her appointment.
keep sth to yourself
to not tell other people about something: My boss asked me to keep the information to myself until she could announce it formally.
keep sth under control
to check something, and make sure that it stays within a certain limit: You must ensure that production costs are kept under control.
(Definition of keep from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of keep?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“keep” in Business English

Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
by ,
May 25, 2016
by Liz Walter Enough is a very common word, but it is easy to make mistakes with it. You need to be careful about its position in a sentence, and the prepositions or verb patterns that come after it. I’ll start with the position of enough in the sentence. When we use it with a noun,

Read More 

Word of the Day

sunburned

Sunburned skin has become red and sore by being in the strong heat of the sun for too long, or is very suntanned.

Word of the Day

convo noun
convo noun
May 23, 2016
informal a conversation The convo around concussions mostly focuses on guys who play football, but Chastain thinks that this whole thing could be a headache for women too.

Read More