What does KEEP mean?

Here's a list of possible definitions for the term KEEP:

Princeton's WordNet

  1. support, keep, livelihood, living, bread and butter, sustenance(noun)

    the financial means whereby one lives

    "each child was expected to pay for their keep"; "he applied to the state for support"; "he could no longer earn his own livelihood"

  2. keep, donjon, dungeon(noun)

    the main tower within the walls of a medieval castle or fortress

  3. hold, keep(verb)

    a cell in a jail or prison

  4. keep, maintain, hold(verb)

    keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g., "keep clean"

    "hold in place"; "She always held herself as a lady"; "The students keep me on my toes"

  5. continue, go on, proceed, go along, keep(verb)

    continue a certain state, condition, or activity

    "Keep on working!"; "We continued to work into the night"; "Keep smiling"; "We went on working until well past midnight"

  6. keep, hold on(verb)

    retain possession of

    "Can I keep my old stuffed animals?"; "She kept her maiden name after she married"

  7. prevent, keep(verb)

    stop (someone or something) from doing something or being in a certain state

    "We must prevent the cancer from spreading"; "His snoring kept me from falling asleep"; "Keep the child from eating the marbles"

  8. observe, keep(verb)

    conform one's action or practice to

    "keep appointments"; "she never keeps her promises"; "We kept to the original conditions of the contract"

  9. observe, keep, maintain(verb)

    stick to correctly or closely

    "The pianist kept time with the metronome"; "keep count"; "I cannot keep track of all my employees"

  10. keep(verb)

    look after; be the keeper of; have charge of

    "He keeps the shop when I am gone"

  11. keep, maintain(verb)

    maintain by writing regular records

    "keep a diary"; "maintain a record"; "keep notes"

  12. keep(verb)

    supply with room and board

    "He is keeping three women in the guest cottage"; "keep boarders"

  13. retain, continue, keep, keep on(verb)

    allow to remain in a place or position or maintain a property or feature

    "We cannot continue several servants any longer"; "She retains a lawyer"; "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"; "She retained her composure"; "this garment retains its shape even after many washings"

  14. sustain, keep, maintain(verb)

    supply with necessities and support

    "She alone sustained her family"; "The money will sustain our good cause"; "There's little to earn and many to keep"

  15. keep, stay fresh(verb)

    fail to spoil or rot

    "These potatoes keep for a long time"

  16. observe, celebrate, keep(verb)

    behave as expected during of holidays or rites

    "Keep the commandments"; "celebrate Christmas"; "Observe Yom Kippur"

  17. restrain, keep, keep back, hold back(verb)

    keep under control; keep in check

    "suppress a smile"; "Keep your temper"; "keep your cool"

  18. keep, preserve(verb)

    maintain in safety from injury, harm, or danger

    "May God keep you"

  19. keep(verb)


    "She keeps a few chickens in the yard"; "he keeps bees"

  20. keep open, hold open, keep, save(verb)

    retain rights to

    "keep my job for me while I give birth"; "keep my seat, please"; "keep open the possibility of a merger"

  21. keep(verb)

    store or keep customarily

    "Where do you keep your gardening tools?"

  22. keep(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"

  23. keep, maintain(verb)

    maintain for use and service

    "I keep a car in the countryside"; "She keeps an apartment in Paris for her shopping trips"

  24. keep(verb)

    hold and prevent from leaving

    "The student was kept after school"

  25. preserve, keep(verb)

    prevent (food) from rotting

    "preserved meats"; "keep potatoes fresh"


  1. keep(Noun)

    Care, notice

  2. keep(Noun)

    The main tower of a castle or fortress, located within the castle walls.

  3. keep(Noun)

    The food or money required to keep someone alive and healthy; one's support, maintenance.

    He works as a cobbler's apprentice for his keep.

  4. keep(Verb)

    to maintain possession of

    I keep a small stock of painkillers for emergencies.

  5. keep(Verb)

    to maintain the condition of

    I keep my specimens under glass to protect them.

  6. keep(Verb)

    To remain in, to be confined to

  7. keep(Verb)

    to wait for, keep watch for

  8. keep(Verb)

    to restrain

    I keep my brother out of trouble by keeping him away from his friends and hard at work.

  9. keep(Verb)

    to protect, guard (someone from something)

  10. keep(Verb)

    to continue

    I keep taking the tablets, but to no avail.

  11. keep(Verb)

    to remain edible or otherwise usable

  12. keep(Verb)

    to remain in a state

    The rabbit avoided detection by keeping still.

  13. keep(Verb)

    to act as wicket-keeper

    Godfrey Evans kept for England for many years.

  14. keep(Verb)

    to raise; to care for

  15. keep(Verb)

    to supply with necessities and financially support a person

  16. Origin: kepen, from cepan, from kōpijanan (confer West Frisian kypje ‘to look’), variant of kapōnan (confer Old English capian ‘to look’, Dutch kapen ‘to seize, snatch’, German kapfen ‘to gape’, Danish kope), from ǵab-, ǵāb- (confer Lithuanian žẽbti ‘to eat reluctantly’, Russian забота ‘care, worry’).

Webster Dictionary

  1. Keep(verb)

    to care; to desire

  2. Keep(verb)

    to hold; to restrain from departure or removal; not to let go of; to retain in one's power or possession; not to lose; to retain; to detain

  3. Keep(verb)

    to cause to remain in a given situation or condition; to maintain unchanged; to hold or preserve in any state or tenor

  4. Keep(verb)

    to have in custody; to have in some place for preservation; to take charge of

  5. Keep(verb)

    to preserve from danger, harm, or loss; to guard

  6. Keep(verb)

    to preserve from discovery or publicity; not to communicate, reveal, or betray, as a secret

  7. Keep(verb)

    to attend upon; to have the care of; to tend

  8. Keep(verb)

    to record transactions, accounts, or events in; as, to keep books, a journal, etc. ; also, to enter (as accounts, records, etc. ) in a book

  9. Keep(verb)

    to maintain, as an establishment, institution, or the like; to conduct; to manage; as, to keep store

  10. Keep(verb)

    to supply with necessaries of life; to entertain; as, to keep boarders

  11. Keep(verb)

    to have in one's service; to have and maintain, as an assistant, a servant, a mistress, a horse, etc

  12. Keep(verb)

    to have habitually in stock for sale

  13. Keep(verb)

    to continue in, as a course or mode of action; not to intermit or fall from; to hold to; to maintain; as, to keep silence; to keep one's word; to keep possession

  14. Keep(verb)

    to observe; to adhere to; to fulfill; not to swerve from or violate; to practice or perform, as duty; not to neglect; to be faithful to

  15. Keep(verb)

    to confine one's self to; not to quit; to remain in; as, to keep one's house, room, bed, etc. ; hence, to haunt; to frequent

  16. Keep(verb)

    to observe duty, as a festival, etc. ; to celebrate; to solemnize; as, to keep a feast

  17. Keep(verb)

    to remain in any position or state; to continue; to abide; to stay; as, to keep at a distance; to keep aloft; to keep near; to keep in the house; to keep before or behind; to keep in favor; to keep out of company, or out reach

  18. Keep(verb)

    to last; to endure; to remain unimpaired

  19. Keep(verb)

    to reside for a time; to lodge; to dwell

  20. Keep(verb)

    to take care; to be solicitous; to watch

  21. Keep(verb)

    to be in session; as, school keeps to-day

  22. Keep(noun)

    the act or office of keeping; custody; guard; care; heed; charge

  23. Keep(noun)

    the state of being kept; hence, the resulting condition; case; as, to be in good keep

  24. Keep(noun)

    the means or provisions by which one is kept; maintenance; support; as, the keep of a horse

  25. Keep(noun)

    that which keeps or protects; a stronghold; a fortress; a castle; specifically, the strongest and securest part of a castle, often used as a place of residence by the lord of the castle, especially during a siege; the donjon. See Illust. of Castle

  26. Keep(noun)

    that which is kept in charge; a charge

  27. Keep(noun)

    a cap for retaining anything, as a journal box, in place


  1. Keep

    A keep is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the castle fall to an adversary. The first keeps were made of timber and formed a key part of the motte and bailey castles that emerged in Normandy and Anjou during the 10th century; the design spread to England as a result of the Norman invasion of 1066, and in turn spread into Wales during the second half of the 11th century and into Ireland in the 1170s. The Anglo-Normans and French rulers began to build stone keeps during the 10th and 11th centuries; these included Norman keeps, with a square or rectangular design, and circular shell keeps. Stone keeps carried considerable political as well as military importance and could take up to a decade to build. During the 12th century new designs began to be introduced – in France, quatrefoil-shaped keeps were introduced, while in England polygonal towers were built. By the end of the century, French and English keep designs began to diverge: Philip II of France built a sequence of circular keeps as part of his bid to stamp his royal authority on his new territories, while in England castles were built that abandoned the use of keeps altogether. In Spain, keeps were increasingly incorporated into both Christian and Islamic castles, although in Germany the use of tall towers called bergfried, rather than keeps in the western fashion, were preferred. In the second half of the 14th century there was a resurgence in the building of keeps. In France, the keep at Vincennes began a fashion for tall, heavily machicolated designs, a trend adopted in Spain most prominently through the Valladolid school of Spanish castle design. Meanwhile, in England tower keeps became popular amongst the most wealthy nobles: these large keeps, each uniquely designed, formed part of the grandest castles built during the period.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Keep

    kēp, v.t. to have the care of: to guard: to maintain: to manage: to have in one's service: to hold for one's own use or enjoyment: to remain in: to adhere to: to practise: not to lose: to maintain hold upon: to restrain from departure: to preserve in a certain state: to maintain: to fulfill.—v.i. to remain in any position or state: to remain fresh: to last or endure: to continue: to adhere: to have rooms at college (Cambridge):—-pr.p. keep′ing; pa.t. and pa.p. kept.—n. that which keeps or protects: subsistence: food: the innermost and strongest part of a castle, the donjon: a stronghold.—ns. Keep′er, an attendant, manager, owner: a gamekeeper: socket, guard-ring; Keep′ership, office of a keeper; Keep′ing, care: custody: charge: (Shak.) maintenance, support: just proportion, harmony: (paint.) due proportion of light and shade; Keep′ing-room, a sitting-room, parlour; Keep′sake, something given to be kept for the sake of the giver—the name used often to be applied to the annuals or sumptuous gift-books so much in vogue about 1830.—Keep an act, to hold an academical disputation; Keep an eye on, Keep company, chapel, counsel, distance, hours, house, the peace, &c. (see the nouns); Keep a term (see Term); Keep at it, to persist in anything; Keep back, to withhold: keep down, to repress (see also Dark); Keep body and soul together, to maintain life; Keep down, to restrain; Keep from, to abstain from: to remain away from; Keep going in a thing, to keep one supplied with it; Keep in, to prevent from escaping: to confine a pupil in the schoolroom after school hours: to conceal: to restrain; Keep in with, to maintain the confidence or friendship of some one; Keep off, to hinder from approaching or making an attack; Keep one's countenance, to preserve a calm appearance, hiding one's emotions; Keep one's hand in, to retain one's skill by means of constant practice; Keep the breath to cool one's porridge, to confine attention to one's own affairs; Keep the powder dry, to keep one's energies ready for action; Keep to, to stick closely to: to confine one's self to; Keep under, to hold down in restraint; Keep up, to retain one's strength or spirit: to support, prevent from falling: to continue, to prevent from ceasing: to maintain in good condition. [A.S. cépan, orig. to traffic, hence to store up, keep—ceáp, price.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. keep

    A strong donjon or tower in the middle of a castle, usually the last resort of its garrison in a siege. Also, a reservoir for fish by the side of a river.--To keep, a term used on several occasions in navigation; as, "Keep her away," alter the ship's course to leeward, by sailing further off the wind. The reverse is, "Keep your wind, keep your luff," close to the wind.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. keep

    To maintain hold upon; not to let go of; not to lose; to retain; as, if we lose the field, we cannot keep the town.

  2. keep

    In ancient military history, a kind of strong tower, which was built in the centre of a castle or fort, to which the besieged retreated, and made their last efforts of defense. In the Norman keeps there appear to have been three stories, the lowest for stores, the second for a guard-room, and the upper, or solarium, for the family. The keep was similar to what the classical ancients called the citadel, or inner fort,—a term generally applied to modern fortification on the continent. King’s Keep, a fort built by King Henry II. in the inner part of Dover Castle is so called.

Editors Contribution

  1. keep

    To have.

    They did keep their clothes clean, neat and tidy always.

Suggested Resources

  1. KEEP

    What does KEEP stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the KEEP acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'KEEP' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #351

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'KEEP' in Written Corpus Frequency: #247

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'KEEP' in Verbs Frequency: #40

Anagrams for KEEP »

  1. kepe, peek, PEEK, Peke

  2. Kepe

  3. Peek

  4. Peke


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of KEEP in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of KEEP in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

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