Reading set "Idioms with 'keep' to learn (part 2)" (Number of items 20)

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keep one at a distance

To avoid (someone's) company; not become too friendly toward.
Mr. Smith is kind to the workers in his store but after work he keeps them at a distance.
Betty likes Bill and is trying to be friendly, but he keeps her at arm's length.

keep one's balance

keep one's balance  {v. phr.}
To stay even-tempered; not become overexcited.
Mike has the best personality to run our office; he always keeps his balance.

keep one's chin up

keep one's chin up  {v. phr.}
To be brave; be determined; face trouble with courage.
He didn't think that he would ever get out of the jungle alive, but he kept his chin up.

keep one's distance

keep one's distance  {v. phr.}
To be cool toward someone; avoid being friendly.
Mary did not like her co-worker, Betty, and kept her distance from her.

keep one's eye on the ball

1. To watch the ball at all times in a sport, usually in order to hit it or get it; not stop watching the ball.
Keep your eye on the baseball or you won't be able to hit it.
2.  {informal}
To be watchful and ready; be wide-awake and ready to win or succeed; be smart.
Tom is just starting on the job but if he keeps his eye on the ball, he will be promoted.
Categories:informal verb

keep one's eyes peeled

keep one's eyes peeled or keep one's eyes skinned  {v. phr.},  {informal}
To watch carefully; be always looking.
The bird-watcher kept his eyes peeled for bluebirds.
When the boys walked through the roads, they kept their eyes skinned for snakes.
Compare: EYES OPEN (1), EYE OUT.
Categories:informal verb

keep one's feet

keep one's feet  {v. phr.}
To keep from falling or slipping down; keep your balance; remain standing.
The boy stumbled on the stairs but was able to keep his feet.

keep one's hand in

keep one's hand in  {v. phr.}
To keep in practice; continue to take part.
After he retired from teaching, Mr. Brown kept his hand in by giving a lecture once in a while.
Mr. Smith left the planning of the trip to his wife, but he kept his hand in, too.
Compare: KEEP UP.
Categories:hand verb

keep one's head

To stay calm when there is trouble or danger.
When Tim heard the fire alarm he kept his head and looked for the nearest exit.
Compare: COUNT TO TEN. Contrast: LOSE ONE'S HEAD.

keep one's head above water

To remain solvent; manage to stay out of debt.
Herb's income declined so drastically that he now has difficulty keeping his head above water.

keep one's mouth shut

keep one's mouth shut  {v. phr.},  {informal}
To be or stay silent. — A rude expression when used as a command.
When the crooks were captured by the police, their leader warned them to keep their mouths shut.
Charles began to tell Barry how to kick the ball, and Barry said angrily, "Keep your mouth shut!"
Syn.: SHUT UP (1).
Categories:informal rude verb

keep one's nose clean

keep one's nose clean  {v. phr.},  {slang}
To stay out of trouble; do only what you should do.
The boss said Jim could have the job as long as he kept his nose clean and worked hard.
The policeman warned the boys to keep their noses clean unless they wanted to go to jail.
Compare: STEER CLEAR OF (2).
Categories:nose slang verb

keep one's nose to the grindstone

To work hard all the time; keep busy with boring or tiresome work.
Sarah keeps her nose to the grindstone and saves as much as possible to start her own business.
Categories:informal nose time verb

keep one's own counsel

keep one's own counsel  {v. phr.},  {formal}
To keep your ideas and plans to yourself.
John listened to what everyone had to say in the discussion, but he kept his own counsel.
Although everybody gave Mrs. O'Connor advice about what to do with her house, she kept her own counsel.
Categories:formal verb

keep one's shirt on

keep one's shirt on  {v. phr.},  {slang}
To calm down; keep from losing your temper or getting impatient or excited.
Bob got very angry when John accidentally bumped into him, but John told him to keep his shirt on.
- Usually used as a command; may be considered impolite.
John said to Bob, "Keep your shirt on."
Categories:slang verb

keep one's word

keep one's word  {v. phr.}
To do what one has promised; fulfill one's promise.
Paul kept his word and paid me the $250 that he owed me right on time.
Categories:time verb

keep open house

keep open house  {v. phr.}
To offer hospitality and entertain those who come at any given time on a certain day or afternoon.
Beth and Charlie have a cottage by the lake where they keep open house on Saturday afternoons during the summer.
Categories:time verb

keep out (of)

keep out (of)  {v. phr.}
1. To stay out; remain out of.
The sign on the fence said, "Danger! Keep out!"
2. To stave off; not allow in.
The border patrol near El Paso, Texas, is trying to keep illegal immigrants out of the United States.

keep pace

keep pace  {v. phr.}
To go as fast; go at the same rate; not get behind.
When they go for a walk, Johnny has to take long steps to keep pace with his father.
When Billy was moved to a more advanced class, he had to work hard to keep pace.
Compare: KEEP UP (2a).

keep plugging along

keep plugging along  {v. phr.},  {informal}
To continue to work diligently and with great effort, often against hardship.
Bob was not particularly talented but he kept plugging along year after year, and eventually became vice president.
Categories:informal verb