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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
hold at bay, to
To keep some adverse situation from worsening; to hold off an enemy. The term comes from the Old French tenir a bay, which meant to hold open or in suspense, and referred to a hunted animal being cornered by its pursuers. The term was used literally by the fourteenth century, and figuratively soon thereafter. It is also phrased as to keep at bay.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
- hold (someone or something) at bay
- hold someone or something at bay
- hold/keep somebody/something at bay
- keep (someone or something) at bay
- keep something/someone at bay
- leave (someone, something, or oneself) (wide) open for (something)
- leave oneself wide open for
- keep (someone or something) in sight
- keep sight of
- keep sight of somebody/something