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1. Lit. to maintain a musical rhythm. Bob had to drop out of the band because he couldn't keep time. Since he can't keep time, he can't march, and he can't play the drums.
2. . Fig. to keep watch over the time in a game or an athletic contest. Ann kept time at all the basketball games. Whoever keeps time has to watch the referee very carefully.
3. . Fig. [for a clock or a watch] to keep track of time accurately. This watch doesn't keep time. My other watch kept time better.
1. to stay even with a musical beat Many in the crowd swayed and kept time to the music by tapping their feet.
2. to record how long something has taken When I go running I like to keep time on my watch.
1. Maintain the correct tempo and rhythm of music; also, mark the rhythm by foot-tapping, hand movements, or the like. For example, The children love to keep time by clapping their hands. This usage dates from the late 1500s and is occasionally put figuratively, as Ben Jonson did in Cynthia's Revels (1699): "Slow, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears."
2. Also, keep good time. Indicate the correct time, as in This inexpensive watch does not keep good time. [Late 1800s]
1. To indicate the correct time.
2. Music To maintain the tempo or rhythm.