keep in check

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keep someone or something in check

 and hold someone or something in check
to keep someone or something under control; to restrain someone or something. Hang on to this rope to keep the dog in check. I was so angry I could hardly hold myself in check.
See also: check, keep

keep/hold somebody/something in ˈcheck

control somebody/something: The disease is kept in check with drugs.It was difficult to hold their enthusiasm in check.
References in classic literature ?
I will keep twenty to hold in check the mob; go, and lose not a moment.