A Dictionary of the English Language
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Keep (verb neuter)

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To Keep. v.n.

  1. To remain by some labour or effort in a certain state.

    With all our force we kept aloof to sea,
    And gain'd the island where our vessels lay.
    Pope's Odys.

    A man that cannot fence will keep out of bullies and gamesters company. Locke on Education.

  2. To continue in any place or state; to stay.

    She would give her a lesson for walking so late, that should make her keep within doors for one fortnight. Sidney.

    What! keep a week away? seven days and nights?
    Eightscore hours? and lovers absent hours.
    Oh weary reckoning.
    Shakespeare's Othello.

                  I think, it is our way,
    If we will keep in favour with the king,
    To be her men, and wear her livery.
    Shakesp. Rich. III.

    Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended. Ruth ii. 21.

    The necessity of keeping well with the maritime powers, will persuade them to follow our measures. Temple.

    On my better hand Ascanius hung,
    And with unequal paces tript along:
    Creusa kept behind.
    Dryden's Æneis.

                        The goddess born in secret pin'd;
    Nor visited the camp, nor in the council join'd;
    But keeping close, his gnawing heart he fed
    With hopes of vengeance.
    Dryden's Homer.

    And while it keeps there, it keeps within our author's limitation. Locke.

    There are cases in which a man must guard, if he intends to keep fair with the world, and turn the penny. Collier.

    The endeavours Achilles used to meet with Hector, the contrary endeavours of the Trojan to keep out of reach are the intrigue. Pope's View of Epick Poetry.

  3. To remain unhurt; to last.

    Disdain me not, although I be not fair:
    Doth beauty keep which never sun can burn,
    Nor storms do turn?
    Sidney, b. i.

    Grapes will keep in a vessel half full of wine, so that the grapes touch not the wine. Bacon's Nat. Hist.

    If the malt be not thoroughly dried, the ale it makes will not keep. Mortimer's Husbandry.

  4. To dwell; to live constantly.

                        A breath thou art,
    Servile to all the skiey influences,
    That do this habitation, where thou keepst,
    Hourly afflict.
    Shakesp. Measure for Measure.

    Knock at the study, where, they say, he keeps,
    To ruminate strange plots of dire revenge.
    Shakespeare.

  5. To adhere strictly.

    Did they keep to one constant dress they would sometimes be in fashion, which they never are. Addison's Spect.

    It is so whilst we keep to our rule; but when we forsake that, we go astray. Baker's Reflections on Learning.

  6. To Keep on. To go forward.

    So chearfully he took the doom;
    Nor shrunk, nor stept from death,
    But, with unalter'd pace, kept on.
    Dryden.

  7. To Keep up. To continue undismayed.

    He grew sick of a consumption; yet he still kept up, that he might free his country. Dryden's Life of Cleomenes.

  8. The general idea of this word is care, continuance, or duration.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Baker, Thomas (10) · Collier, Jeremy (24) · Dryden, John (788) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (39) · Mortimer, John (62) · Shakespeare's Othello (60) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Shakespeare's Richard III (63) · The Bible - Ruth (2) · Sidney, Philip (140) · Temple, William (54) · Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (16)

Attributes: Verb Neuter (131)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Keep (verb neuter)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: February 17, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=3163.


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