To keep from

to abstain or refrain from.

See also: Keep

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in classic literature ?
Well, he couldn't love us enough for it or be grateful enough, poor cuss; it was all he could do to keep from hugging us.
No one wanted to risk such an accident as that, you may be sure; so all the passengers stayed huddled up in the dark cabin, listening to the shrieking of the storm and the creaking of the masts and rigging and trying to keep from bumping into one another when the ship tipped sidewise.
Soon the front end of the ship began to go down and down, faster and faster--till the boat looked almost as though it were standing on its head; and the pirates had to cling to the rails and the masts and the ropes and anything to keep from sliding off.
Sporting a helmet and protective pads, he rolls along the mountain's narrow rock ledges--constantly adjusting his body to keep from falling.
To keep from falling off the cycle, Holm has to pay close attention to his center of gravity--the spot where most of the mass of his body is concentrated.
Give yourself enough color to keep from looking pasty but not wood-panel deep.