Meaning of “keep” - Learner’s Dictionary


verb us uk /kiːp/ past tense and past participle kept
HAVE [ T ]

A2 to have something permanently or for the whole of a period of time:

You can keep that dress if you like it.
He borrowed my bike and kept it all week.
I kept my last car for two years.

More examples

keep sth in/on, etc

A2 to regularly store something in a particular place:

I think he keeps his keys in the desk drawer.
We'll keep your application on file.
keep doing sth

B1 to continue to do something, or to do something repeatedly:

My diets never work, but I keep trying.
I keep telling her not to leave her clothes on the floor.
He keeps hitting me.
keep (sb/sth) awake/clean/safe, etc

A2 to remain in a particular state or make someone or something remain in a particular state:

Thick socks help me keep warm.
He goes jogging twice a week to keep fit.
He keeps his car spotlessly clean.
keep sb/sth in/inside, etc

to make someone or something stay in the same place:

They will keep her at home for a few more days.

B1 to make someone do something that stops them doing something else:

[ + doing sth ] She kept me talking for ages.
Sorry to keep you waiting.
Don't let me keep you from your work.
keep a secret

B1 to not tell anyone a secret

keep a promise/your word, etc

B2 to do what you have promised to do

keep an appointment

to meet someone when you have arranged to meet them


to make someone arrive later than they planned:

I was expecting you at six - what kept you?

B2 to write down something in order to remember it:

to keep records/notes
FOOD [ I ]

B2 If food or drink keeps, it remains fresh.


to provide enough money for someone to live:

I can't keep a family on that salary.

B2 to have and look after animals:

Our neighbours keep pigs.
keep sb going

(Definition of “keep verb” from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)