hold (someone or something) at bay

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hold (someone or something) at bay

To keep someone or something at a distance or from reaching full potency, especially in order to prevent harm to oneself. These tree frogs have a powerful poison on their backs that helps hold predators at bay. You have to start meeting your minimum monthly repayments if you want to hold your creditors at bay. During my college years, the only things I had to hold hunger at bay were beans, rice, and plain pasta.
See also: bay, hold

hold someone or something at bay

Fig. to make someone, a group, or an animal stay at a safe distance. (Originally referred only to animals.) I held the attacker at bay while Mary got away and called the police. The dogs held the bear at bay while I got my gun loaded.
See also: bay, hold

hold (or keep) someone or something at bay

prevent someone or something from approaching or having an effect.
See also: bay, hold, someone, something

hold/keep somebody/something at ˈbay

prevent somebody/something from coming too close or attacking: Vitamin C helps to keep colds and flu at bay.
References in periodicals archive ?
The fans, held at bay by metal barriers, were asked if they could keep quiet and keep the flashes on their cameras turned off before they did the scene again.
The talking must continue and emotions held at bay as a compromise is sought.
Cobra hit back in the final few minutes, trying to take advantage of Josh Roberts' yellow card, but were held at bay as Llandudno claimed the cup.
The One East champions were held at bay for much of the opening exchanges, but the hosts couldn't be contained as they helped themselves to six tries through Dan Haymond, Polo Uhi, Josh Lewis, Ashley Sweet, Cameron Regan and Jamie Jones.
Staff at the all-male psychiatric unit, which houses killers, arsonists and rapists, were held at bay as four men on a 15-patient ward screamed, smashed a door and destroyed security cameras in the early hours.
However, the home attack were initially held at bay by a century opening stand between Dan Birch and Vikram Atri.
Paul and Jason Parajeckas of Pleasant Valley are in second place after the first day of the NEPGA Pro-Assistant Championship held at Bay Club in Mattapoisett.
The game always had another goal in it, with the Marton boys keeping up the pressure and defenders Donny Hughes, Adam Wright and goalkeeper Joe Shipp making sure the Redcar side were held at bay.
Altrincham dominated the second half, but were held at bay by a fine Northwich defence in which goalkeeper Scott Tynan was the star.
Sent off the 9-4 second favourite despite being fastest in the heats last week, the Harry Williamstrained bitch soon hit the front and always seemed to have 7-4 market leader held at bay, ultimately scoring by a length from that rival in 27.
he Sandgrounders,already guaranteed Conference North football next season,had to be content with a point as they were held at bay by an Ashton side still in the battle for promotion.
I had editorial license over what I wanted to have in that book and not in that book, and held at bay what I figured would be some kind of things that might be too inside,'' he said, ``and then I thought it was probably best that whatever I said originally stayed in this book, because there's enough in it that gives some people who are looking for that a history into this conflict as to what it's about and a perspective that I think is probably a little bit better than just the narrow view that we had from this short uprising this January.
However, this approach inevitably opens a metonymic void-- an absolute outside--where all critical readings reside, held at bay with respect to the sense of transparency and immediacy these artists convey through image and materials.
Officers were held at bay for more than an hour when he refused to surrender.