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treat them mean, keep them keen

Neglecting a romantic partner (or a potential romantic partner) keeps him or her interested in you. A: "Why hasn't Tom called me yet? I thought he liked me." B: "Maybe he thinks that 'treat them mean, keep them keen' actually works."
See also: keen, keep, treat

be as keen as mustard

To be very enthusiastic about something. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. These new kids are as keen as mustard to be in the choir, so we can definitely get them to clean up the choir room for us.
See also: keen, mustard

be keen about

To be excited about or interested in something. Rich is very keen about this cruise he's planned for the fall. Don't take this opportunity if you aren't keen about it.
See also: keen

be keen on

To be excited about or interested in someone or something. I'm glad that Jimmy and Lena are finally going on a date, since he's been keen on her for months. Don't take this opportunity if you aren't keen on it.
See also: keen, on

have a keen interest in something

to have a strong interest in something; to be very interested in something. Tom had always had a keen interest in music, so he started a band. The children have a keen interest in having apet, so I bought them a cat.
See also: have, interest, keen

keen on doing something

willing or eager to do something. Dave isn't very keen on going to the opera. The children are keen on swimming this afternoon. Shall I take them?
See also: keen, on

keen on someone or something

 and keen about someone or something
to be enthusiastic about someone or something. I'm not too keen on going to Denver. Sally is fairly keen about getting a new job. Mary isn't keen on her new boss.
See also: keen, on

keen about, be

Be enthusiastic about. For example, He's been keen about this whole endeavor for a long time. It is also put as be keen on, which has the additional meaning "to be ardent about or in love with," as in Jim's been keen on Jane for years. With other adverbs, such as keen at and keen of, keen has been so used since the early 1500s; the current locutions, however, date from the mid-1800s.
See also: keen

keen as mustard

If someone is keen as mustard they are very eager to do something. I have an adult pupil who scored very low in assessments but is keen as mustard. Note: You can also describe someone as mustard-keen. Sir Richard was mustard-keen to say his bit. Note: `Keen' means enthusiastic, but is also used to mean sharp when referring to the blade or cutting edge of a tool or weapon. An acidic or sour taste can also be referred to as sharp, so enthusiasm is being likened to the sharp taste or `edge' given to food by mustard.
See also: keen, mustard

keen as mustard

extremely eager or enthusiastic. British informal
Keen is used here to mean ‘operating on the senses like a sharp instrument’.
See also: keen, mustard

(as) ˌkeen as ˈmustard

(British English, informal) wanting very much to do well at something; enthusiastic: She’s as keen as mustard. She always gets here first in the morning and she’s the last to leave work in the evening.
See also: keen, mustard

be mad ˈkeen (on somebody/something)

(informal) be very interested in or enthusiastic about somebody/something: She’s been mad keen on African music ever since she came back from Zimbabwe last year.He’s mad keen on getting into the army.
See also: keen, mad

peachy (keen)

mod. fine; excellent. Your idea is really peachy!
See also: keen, peachy
References in periodicals archive ?
Keener, who announced plans to retire from the company following 30 years of service.
Britons were found to be Keener to taKe action when they have a problem, with 32% saying they are more LIKELY to complain about poor service now than they were a year ago.
Opens Friday THE STARS James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Julia Louis-Dreyfus THE VERDICT This wry comedy about taking a second chance at love stars the late James Gandolfini in a rare romantic role.
Keener and researchers at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland demonstrated that sealed-package atmospheric plasma works well to kill bacteria in growth media.
Summary: Karachi: Pakistan are keener than ever to get back on the field for the first .
Laurie and Keener exude the air of weariness of a couple who have been stuck in a rut for years, and Janney airs another sniping matriarch from her cluttered repertoire.
15PM PREMIERE 'Hanoi Jane' Fonda as Woodstock granny who can't relate to her uptight lawyer daughter Catherine Keener.
Keener, professor of food science at the College of Agriculture.
THE ORANGES (15) CAST: Catherine Keener, Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney PLOT: The Walling and Ostroff families are such good neighbours they often spend time in each other's houses - in the old-fashioned way.
After landing a job in retail during his first year out of college, Keener decided to venture into graduate programs, thinking his interests would be better suited in a different field.
Keener seeks to show the historical reliability of the Gospels; at the same time, he is interested in the theological concerns of the Gospels.
Kevin Keener, associate professor of food science, maintains that quick cooling of eggs after they are laid significantly would reduce the ability of salmonella to grow inside them and potentially keep consumers from getting sick.
John C Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener, Matt Walsh.
Jonze and co-writer Dave Eggers take Sendak's original story - a mere 10 sentences and 338 words - Starring: Max Records, Keener, Pepita Emmerichs, and the voices of James Lauren Ambrose, Catherine Paul Dano.
Summary: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener and director Spike Jonze were among the stars in New York for the premiere of Where The Wild Things Are.