keep one's distance

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ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Verb1.keep one's distance - stay clear of, avoid; "Keep your hands off my wife!"; "Keep your distance from this man--he is dangerous"
be - occupy a certain position or area; be somewhere; "Where is my umbrella?" "The toolshed is in the back"; "What is behind this behavior?"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


(kiːp) past tense, past participle kept (kept) verb
1. to have for a very long or indefinite period of time. He gave me the picture to keep.
2. not to give or throw away; to preserve. I kept the most interesting books; Can you keep a secret?
3. to (cause to) remain in a certain state or position. I keep this gun loaded; How do you keep cool in this heat?; Will you keep me informed of what happens?
4. to go on (performing or repeating a certain action). He kept walking.
5. to have in store. I always keep a tin of baked beans for emergencies.
6. to look after or care for. She keeps the garden beautifully; I think they keep hens.
7. to remain in good condition. That meat won't keep in this heat unless you put it in the fridge.
8. to make entries in (a diary, accounts etc). She keeps a diary to remind her of her appointments; He kept the accounts for the club.
9. to hold back or delay. Sorry to keep you.
10. to provide food, clothes, housing for (someone). He has a wife and child to keep.
11. to act in the way demanded by. She kept her promise.
12. to celebrate. to keep Christmas.
food and lodging. She gives her mother money every week for her keep; Our cat really earns her keep – she kills all the mice in the house.
ˈkeeper noun
1. a person who looks after something, eg animals in a zoo. The lion has killed its keeper.
2. a goalkeeper.
ˈkeeping noun
care or charge. The money had been given into his keeping.
ˌkeep-ˈfit noun
a series or system of exercises, usually simple, intended to improve the physical condition of ordinary people, especially women. She's very keen on keep-fit but it doesn't do her much good; (also adjective) keep-fit exercises.
ˈkeepsake (-seik) noun
something given or taken to be kept in memory of the giver. She gave him a piece of her hair as a keepsake.
for keeps
permanently. You can have this necklace for keeps.
in keeping with
suited to. He has moved to a house more in keeping with his position as a headmaster.
keep away
to (cause to) remain at a distance. Keep away – it's dangerous!
keep back
1. not to (allow to) move forward. She kept the child back on the edge of the crowd; Every body keep back from the door!
2. not to tell or make known. I feel he's keeping the real story back for some reason.
3. not to give or pay out. Part of my allowance is kept back to pay for my meals; Will they keep it back every week?
keep one's distance
to stay quite far away. The deer did not trust us and kept their distance.
keep down
1. not to (allow to) rise up. Keep down – they're shooting at us!
2. to control or put a limit on. They are taking steps to keep down the rabbit population.
3. to digest without vomiting. He has eaten some food but he won't be able to keep it down.
keep one's end up
to perform one's part in something just as well as all the others who are involved.
keep from
to stop oneself from (doing something). I could hardly keep from hitting him.
keep going
to go on doing something despite difficulties.
keep hold of
not to let go of. Keep hold of those tickets!
keep house (for)
to do the cooking, housework etc (for). She keeps house for her brother.
keep in
1. not to allow to go or come out or outside. The teacher kept him in till he had finished the work.
2. to stay close to the side of a road etc.
keep in mind
to remember and take into consideration later.
keep it up
to carry on doing something at the same speed or as well as one is doing it at present. Your work is good – keep it up!
keep off
1. to stay away. There are notices round the bomb warning people to keep off; The rain kept off and we had sunshine for the wedding.
2. to prevent from getting to or on to (something). This umbrella isn't pretty, but it keeps off the rain.
keep on
to continue (doing something or moving). He just kept on writing; They kept on until they came to a petrol station.
keep oneself to oneself
to tell others very little about oneself, and not to be very friendly or sociable.
keep out
not to (allow to) enter. The notice at the building site said `Keep out!'; This coat keeps out the wind.
keep out of
not to become involved in. Do try to keep out of trouble!
keep time
(of a clock etc) to show the time accurately. Does this watch keep (good) time?
keep to
not to leave or go away from. Keep to this side of the park!; We kept to the roads we knew.
keep (something) to oneself
not to tell anyone (something). He kept his conclusions to himself.
keep up
1. to continue, or cause to remain, in operation. I enjoy our friendship and try to keep it up.
2. (often with with) to move fast enough not to be left behind (by). Even the children managed to keep up; Don't run – I can't keep up with you.
keep up with the Joneses (ˈdʒounziz)
to have everything one's neighbours have. She didn't need a new cooker – she just bought one to keep up with the Joneses.
keep watch
to have the task of staying alert and watching for danger.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is easier to keep one's distance, to not look at all.
tell us something like this: "If you want your life to have some meaning, you must accept the Event, you must remain at a distance from power, and you must be firm in your decision." This is the story that philosophy is always telling us, under many different guises: to be in the exception, in the sense of the Event, to keep one's distance from power, and to accept the consequences of a decision, however remote and difficult they may prove.