keep at bay
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Related to keep at bay: hold at bay
keep somebody at bayalso hold somebody at bay
to prevent someone from moving closer He held the police at bay with a gun for several hours.
keep something at bayalso hold something at bay
to control something and prevent it from causing you problems She fought to keep her unhappiness at bay. In the garden, there's no security system to keep the rabbits at bay. Experts hope the economy will slow enough to keep inflation at bay.
keep something/somebody at bay
to prevent something or someone unpleasant from coming too near you or harming you If we can keep the rabbits at bay, we should have a good crop of vegetables in the garden. For me, overeating is a way of keeping my feelings at bay.