hold in check

Also found in: Legal.

hold/keep something/somebody in check

to keep something or someone under control, usually to stop them becoming too large or too powerful The natural order of things is that the predators of an animal keep the population in check. The central banks' action seemed at the time to be holding the dollar in check.
See also: check, hold
References in classic literature ?
I will keep twenty to hold in check the mob; go, and lose not a moment.