1 [mass noun] food, clothes, and other essentials for living:the Society are paying for your keep
the cost of the essentials for living.
2 [mass noun] archaic charge; control:if from shepherd’s keep a lamb strayed far
3the strongest or central tower of a castle, acting as a final refuge.
1have or retain possession of:my father would keep the best for himselfshe had trouble keeping her balance
retain or reserve for future use:return one copy to me, keeping the other for your files
put or store in a regular place:the stand where her umbrella was kept
2continue or cause to continue in a specified condition, position, course, etc.: [no object, with complement]:I kept quiet while Emily talked onkeep left along the wall [with object and complement]:she might be kept alive artificially by machinery
[no object, with present participle] continue doing or do repeatedly:he keeps going on about the murder
[no object] (of a perishable commodity) remain in good condition:hominy will keep almost indefinitely without spoilage
[with object] retain one’s place in or on (a seat or saddle, the ground, etc.) in spite of difficulty:can you keep your saddle, or shall I carry you on a pillion?
[no object, with adverbial] chiefly British be in a specified state of health:he had not been keeping well
[with object] cause to be late; delay:I won’t keep you, I know you’ve got a busy evening
[with object and present participle] make (someone) do something for a period of time:I have kept her waiting too long
archaic continue to follow (a path or course):the soldiers removed, keeping their course towards Jericho
3provide for the sustenance of (someone):he had to keep his large family in the manner he had chosen
provide (someone) with a regular supply of a commodity:the money should keep him in cigarettes for a week
own and look after (an animal) for pleasure or profit:they raised pigs and kept a pony or two
own and manage (a shop or business):the big fellow keeps a fish shop near the post office
guard; protect:his only thought is to keep the boy from harm
support (someone, especially a woman) financially in return for sexual favours:he was keeping a woman on the side
4honour or fulfil (a commitment or undertaking):I’ll keep my promise, naturally
observe (a religious occasion) in the prescribed manner:today’s consumers do not keep the Sabbath
pay due regard to (a law or custom):if you kept small rules, you could break the big ones
5make written entries in (a diary) on a regular basis:the master kept a weekly journal
write down as (a record):keep a note of each item
you can't keep a good man (or woman) down
informal a competent person will always recover well from setbacks.
informal permanently; indefinitely:they’ll have to give us the trophy for keeps if we win it again
keep one's feet
manage not to fall:on the planked railway crossing she stumbled, but kept her feet
chiefly Soccer act as a goalkeeper.
make an effort to live normally in spite of difficulty:she had to keep going for the sake of her boys
keep to oneself
avoid contact with others:they kept to themselves and were a source of mystery and speculation
keep something to oneself
refuse to disclose or share something:he was determined to keep the information to himself