Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to keep back: keep up
keep someone backand hold someone back
1. Lit. to restrain people from moving forward or getting in the way. The police were ordered to keep people back so they wouldn't interfere with the paramedics.
2. Fig. to keep a child in the same grade for an extra year. We asked them to keep John back a year. John was kept back a year in school.
3. Fig. to keep someone from advancing in life. I think that your limited vocabulary is keeping you back. Her lack of computer skills kept her back in her career.
keep someone or something back
to hold someone or something in reserve. Keep back some of the food for an emergency. We are keeping Karen back until the other players have exhausted themselves.
keep (someone, something, or an animal) back (from someone or something)
to make someone, something, or an animal stay in a position away from someone or something. Keep everyone back from the injured lady. Please keep the dogs back from the turtle.
1. To remain out of the way: The spectators at the film shoot kept back. Passengers are requested to keep back behind the yellow line.
2. To cause someone or something to remain out of the way: The police kept the onlookers back so that the paramedics could do their job. The fine mesh kept back the debris.
3. To fail to advance someone to the next grade or class of school; flunk: The teacher kept three struggling students back. A tutor helped each student who was kept back.