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1. Literally, to physically hold or maintain something in an upright position or at a certain level. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is sometimes used between "keep" and "up." Do you think these pushpins will keep up the posterboard? Hopefully these braces will keep the structure up until we can come up with a more permanent solution.
2. To prevent someone from sleeping by making noise, distracting them, etc. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is often used between "keep" and "up." Please stop shouting! You'll keep up your mother, and she has an early day tomorrow. No, I don't mind if you read with the light one—it won't keep me up. Thinking about all the problems in the world keeps me up at night sometimes.
3. To maintain or adhere to an agreement. How can I trust you if you never keep up your end of the bargain?
4. To maintain something to an expected or acceptable level. Keeping up the exterior of the house has been a lot more work than I expected. Were you able to keep up your garden this year? I'd like to keep up my painting, but it's tough with two young kids.
5. To move or progress at the same rate as others. My leg was hurt, but I was able to keep up with the rest of the team during our run. Keeping up with the go-getters in this office is a real challenge, but I think you're up to it. You can follow me if you want, but try to keep up.
6. To continue doing something in the way one has been doing it. Often used as an imperative, especially in the phrases "keep it up" and "keep up the good work." Wow, these look great. Keep up the good work, James! I can't continue working these long hours. If I keep it up, I'll get burned out. If you keep this up, you're going to get expelled.
7. To stay informed about something or in touch with someone by following the latest developments or communicating regularly. It's so hard to keep up with the news these days, especially when a huge story breaks every day. Have you been keeping up with your cousins? What's Mary Kate up to these days?
keep someone up
1. Lit. to hold someone upright. Try to keep him up until I can get his bed made. Keep her up for a few minutes longer.
2. Fig. to prevent someone from going to bed or going to sleep. I'm sorry, was my trumpet keeping you up? The noise kept us up.
keep something up
1. Lit. to hold or prop something up. Keep your side of the trunk up. Don't let it sag. Keep up your side of the trunk.
2. Fig. to continue doing something. I love your singing. Don't stop. Keep it up. Please keep up your singing.
3. Fig. to maintain something in good order. I'm glad you keep the exterior of your house up. You keep up your house nicely.
keep up(with someone or something)
1. Lit. to advance at the same rate as someone or something; to be just as productive as someone or something. Don't work so fast. I can't keep up with you. You're running so fast that I cannot keep up with you. I don't make enough money to keep up with your spending.
2. Fig. to pay attention to the news about someone or something. I don't see the Smiths a lot since they moved, but I keep up with them by phone. I try to keep up with current events.
keep it up
Continue to do or maintain something, as in They were playing loud music, and they kept it up all night long. [Mid-1700s] Also see keep up, def. 4.
1. Also, keep up with. Proceed at the same pace, continue alongside another, as in We try to keep up with the times. [First half of 1600s] This usage, also put as keep pace, appears in the phrase keeping up with the Joneses, which was coined in 1913 by cartoonist Arthur R. Momand for the title of a series in the New York Globe. It means "trying to match the lifestyle of one's more affluent neighbors or acquaintances." For example, Their buying a new van is just another attempt to keep up with the Joneses.
2. Support, sustain, as in They're trying to keep up their spirits while they wait for news of the crash. [Late 1600s] Also see keep one's chin up.
3. Maintain in good condition, as in Joan really kept up the property. [Mid-1500s] This usage also appears in the idiom keep up appearances, meaning "to maintain a good front, make things look good even if they're not," as in She was devastated by his bad prognosis but is trying hard to keep up appearances for their children . [Mid-1700s]
4. Persevere, carry on, prolong, as in Keep up the good work, or How long will this noise keep up? [Early 1500s] Also see keep it up.
5. Also, keep up with; keep up on. Stay in touch, remain informed. For example, Ann and I haven't seen each other since college, but we keep up through our annual Christmas letters , or We subscribe to three papers so as to keep up on current events. [c. 1900]
6. keep someone up. Cause someone to remain out of bed, as in He's keeping up the children beyond their bedtime. [Mid-1700s]
ˌkeep it ˈupused to tell somebody to continue doing something as well as they are already doing it: They’ve done well so far. I just wonder how long they can keep it up.
1. To preserve or sustain something: We kept up the appearance of friendship even though we were mad at each other. The couple kept appearances up even though they had separated.
2. To maintain something in good condition: He did a good job of keeping up the property. The community kept up the old church.
3. To persevere in doing something; carry on doing something: I asked her to stop yelling, but she kept it up. Keep up the good work!
4. To continue at a steady level or pace, especially a significant level or pace: The snow kept up all day.
5. To maintain a value or level equal to that of something, even as that value or level increases: The number of new TVs that arrived didn't keep up with the demand. The scarcity of available land keeps up the demand for it.
6. To match some competitor or perceived competitor: I kept up with the leader of the race until the very end, and so I came in second place.
7. To cause someone to remain awake: The noise from the construction site kept me up all night.
8. keep up on To remain adequately informed: He loved to keep up on the gossip by reading the tabloids.