keeper


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be (not) (one's) brother's keeper

To be responsible for another person's actions. This phrase is often used in the negative and can refer to anyone (not just one's literal brother). Of course I'm disappointed that Travis got arrested again, but I'm not my brother's keeper. When I'm babysitting him, I'm my brother's keeper.
See also: keeper

finders keepers(, losers weepers)

A children's rhyme meaning that if someone finds something, they are entitled to keep it (even if it belongs to someone else). The children huddled around the sparkling ring Jake had discovered. "Finders keepers!" he yelled, as he grabbed it and dashed toward the house. A: "Hey, that's my favorite toy!" B: "But I found it out in the playground. Finders keepers, losers weepers!"
See also: finder, loser

be one's brother's keeper

to be responsible for someone else. (Used of others besides just real brothers.) I can't force these kids to go to school and get an education so they can get jobs. I am not my brother's keeper. You can't expect me to be my brother's keeper. Each of us should be responsible for himself! be one's own man and be one's own master to be someone who is not controlled by other people; to be an independent person. Bert longed to be his own master, but at the same time feared losing the security he had as the employee of a large company. When I go away to college, I'll be my own man. My parents won't be able to tell me what to do anymore.
See also: keeper

finders keepers(, losers weepers)

Prov. If you find something, you are entitled to keep it. (This is a children's rhyme and sounds childish when used by adults.) Bill: Hey! How come you're using my fountain pen? Fred: It's mine now. I found it on the floor—finders keepers, losers weepers. Child: That's my hat. You can't have it. Playmate: I found it. Finders keepers.
See also: finder, keeper

I am not my brother's keeper.

 and Am I my brother's keeper?
Prov. You are not responsible for another person's doings or whereabouts. (Biblical.) Fred: Where's Robert? Jane: Am I my brother's keeper? Jill: How could you let Jane run off like that? Alan: I'm not my brother's keeper.
See also: keeper, not

finders, keepers

A phrase meaning that whoever finds something is entitled to keep it. For example, Someone left a dollar bill in this rented car-finders, keepers. This expression alludes to an ancient Roman law to that effect and has been stated in numerous different ways over the centuries. The modern version, often stated as Finders keepers, losers weepers, dates from the mid-1800s and is no longer a legal precept.
See also: keeper

finders keepers

If someone, especially a child, says finders keepers, they mean that they have a right to keep something they have found. My umbrella has not been returned. Obviously, someone picked it up and has made no effort to find the owner. Finders, keepers.
See also: finder, keeper

not someone's keeper

If you are asked where someone is and you answer that you are not their keeper, you are saying in quite a rude way that you do not know where they are and you cannot be expected to know. `I've no idea where he is,' Hughes replied, `I'm not his keeper.'
See also: keeper, not

not your brother's keeper

You can say that you are not your brother's keeper to indicate that you do not accept responsibility for other people in any way. Part of me wants to help him, but part of me realizes I can't be my brother's keeper. Note: These expressions come from a story in the Bible. Cain has killed his brother, Abel, but tries to deny it. `And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?' (Genesis 4:9)
See also: keeper, not

finders keepers (losers weepers)

used, often humorously, to assert that whoever finds something by chance is entitled to keep it (and the person who lost it will just have to lament its loss). informal
This expression has been widely used since the early 19th century, although the idea goes back much further and is found in the work of the Roman dramatist Plautus. A variant sometimes heard is findings keepings .
See also: finder, keeper

ˌfinders ˈkeepers

(saying) (often used by children) anyone who finds something has a right to keep it: I just found a pound coin on the ground. Finders keepers, so it’s mine!
See also: finder, keeper

keeper

n. something that can be kept; something that qualifies. This fish is a keeper. Throw the others out.
References in classic literature ?
Here the author's outburst came to an end, and he proceeded to take up the thread of his story, saying that the keeper, seeing that Don Quixote had taken up his position, and that it was impossible for him to avoid letting out the male without incurring the enmity of the fiery and daring knight, flung open the doors of the first cage, containing, as has been said, the lion, which was now seen to be of enormous size, and grim and hideous mien.
Seeing this, Don Quixote ordered the keeper to take a stick to him and provoke him to make him come out.
The keeper obeyed, and Don Quixote, fixing on the point of his lance the cloth he had wiped his face with after the deluge of curds, proceeded to recall the others, who still continued to fly, looking back at every step, all in a body, the gentleman bringing up the rear.
They returned at length to the cart, and as they came up, Don Quixote said to the carter, "Put your mules to once more, brother, and continue your journey; and do thou, Sancho, give him two gold crowns for himself and the keeper, to compensate for the delay they have incurred through me.
The keeper, then, in full detail, and bit by bit, described the end of the contest, exalting to the best of his power and ability the valour of Don Quixote, at the sight of whom the lion quailed, and would not and dared not come out of the cage, although he had held the door open ever so long; and showing how, in consequence of his having represented to the knight that it was tempting God to provoke the lion in order to force him out, which he wished to have done, he very reluctantly, and altogether against his will, had allowed the door to be closed.
The keeper gave him a significant wink; but D'Artagnan was unwilling to learn anything from this man.
exclaimed the keeper, "and now in what game would you enter?
But man, she is to be the stake of a game for slaves and criminals," cried the keeper.
And you will chance incurring the wrath of O-Tar, who has no love for this savage barbarian," explained the keeper.
It is a strange request," said the keeper, "but for my friend O-Zar I would do even more, though of course--" he hesitated--"it is customary for one who would be chief to make some slight payment.
He had just time to reach and crouch along upon a huge branch some ten feet up, which stretched out over the river, when the keeper arrived at the clump.
And then he begins to meditate getting along the branch for a plunge, and scramble to the other side; but the small branches are so thick, and the opposite bank so difficult, that the keeper will have lots of time to get round by the ford before he can get out, so he gives that up.
The keeper stops and looks up, and then with a grin says, "Oh
Werry well; please yourself," says the keeper, descending, however, to the ground again, and taking his seat on the bank.
The keeper, and his officers, and their wives and children, were escaping.