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

keeper

n. something that can be kept; something that qualifies. This fish is a keeper. Throw the others out.
References in classic literature ?
The chorus was taken up by the other boys with shouts of laughter, and the keeper turned away with a grunt, but evidently bent on mischief.
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 of the wine-shop, always going a little in advance, and always going on the side which Mr.
There appearing to be no other door on that floor, and the keeper of the wine-shop going straight to this one when they were left alone, Mr.
Yet, work of that kind was being done in the garret; for, with his back towards the door, and his face towards the window where the keeper of the wine-shop stood looking at him, a white-haired man sat on a low bench, stooping forward and very busy, making shoes.
He of the green gaban would have offered resistance, but he found himself ill-matched as to arms, and did not think it prudent to come to blows with a madman, for such Don Quixote now showed himself to be in every respect; and the latter, renewing his commands to the keeper and repeating his threats, gave warning to the gentleman to spur his mare, Sancho his Dapple, and the carter his mules, all striving to get away from the cart as far as they could before the lions broke loose.
During the delay that occurred while the keeper was opening the first cage, Don Quixote was considering whether it would not be well to do battle on foot, instead of on horseback, and finally resolved to fight on foot, fearing that Rocinante might take fright at the sight of the lions; he therefore sprang off his horse, flung his lance aside, braced his buckler on his arm, and drawing his sword, advanced slowly with marvellous intrepidity and resolute courage, to plant himself in front of the cart, commending himself with all his heart to God and to his lady Dulcinea.
The keeper of the harriers smiled, no doubt with a view of making it up with the musketeer.
And everything begins as well as ends," said the keeper with a coarse laugh.
cried the Keeper of the Wicket, in a pompous voice; "make way for Princess Dorothy, who comes from Ozma of Oz.
The keeper, who was standing beside the clerk, looked at Turan.
exclaimed the keeper, "and now in what game would you enter?
A shower of stones and other missiles compelled the keeper of the jail to retire; and the mob, pressing on, and swarming round the walls, forced Gabriel Varden close up to the door.
The keeper, and his officers, and their wives and children, were escaping.