Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
keep someone down
to prevent someone from advancing or succeeding. His lack of a degree will keep him down. I don't think that this problem will keep her down.
keep someone or something down
to hold someone or something in a hidden or protected position. Try to keep Sam down where no one can see him. Please keep the noise down so Fred won't know it's a party when he comes in.
keep something down
1. Lit. to make the level of noise lower and keep it lower. Please keep it down. You are just too noisy. Keep the noise down, or I will call the police.
2. Fig. to retain food in one's stomach rather than throwing it up. I've got the flu and I can't keep any food down. She couldn't keep the milk down.
3. Fig. to keep spending under control. I work hard to keep expenses down. Please try to keep the cost of the new project down.
keep somebody down
1. to make someone discouraged The loss of his job has really kept him down.
2. to not advance someone Why would someone so capable be kept down by his superiors?
keep something downalso keep down something
1. to not vomit food or liquid I was sick most of the day and couldn't keep anything down.
2. to prevent something from increasing We need to keep down our costs.
1. Hold under control, repress; also, retain food. For example, Keep you voice down, or They vowed to keep down the insurgency, or With morning sickness, she had a hard time keeping down her breakfast. [Late 1500s]
2. Prevent from increasing or succeeding, as in The government was determined to keep prices down, or Joyce felt that her lack of an advanced degree kept her down in terms of promotions. [Early 1800s]
1. To remain in a lower position: We heard gunfire overhead, so we kept down for a while.
2. To cause something to remain in a lower position: I keep the blinds down in my apartment during the summer. We kept down the shades so no one would see.
3. To prevent something from growing, accomplishing, or succeeding: These unfair wages are keeping people like us down. The new policies are keeping down the poor.
4. To hold something under control or at a reduced level: Keep your voice down, or you'll wake the baby. Keep down the noise, or you'll have to leave.
5. To refrain from vomiting something: Although I was seasick, I managed to keep my food down. The patient kept down the medicine.