hold 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.
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.