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treat them mean, keep them keen

Neglecting a romantic partner (or a potential romantic partner) keeps him or her interested in you. A: "Why hasn't Tom called me yet? I thought he liked me." B: "Maybe he thinks that 'treat them mean, keep them keen' actually works."
See also: keen, keep, treat

be as keen as mustard

To be very enthusiastic about something. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. These new kids are as keen as mustard to be in the choir, so we can definitely get them to clean up the choir room for us.
See also: keen, mustard

be keen about

To be excited about or interested in something. Rich is very keen about this cruise he's planned for the fall. Don't take this opportunity if you aren't keen about it.
See also: keen

be keen on

To be excited about or interested in someone or something. I'm glad that Jimmy and Lena are finally going on a date, since he's been keen on her for months. Don't take this opportunity if you aren't keen on it.
See also: keen, on

be mad keen (on someone or something)

To be very enthusiastic or excited about someone or something. Oh, I've seen the way Tim smiles at you—he's definitely mad keen on you! I'm mad keen on that college, so I really hope they accept me.
See also: keen, mad, someone

keen as mustard

Very enthusiastic and excited (about or to do something). Hyphenated if used as a modifier before a noun. There are plenty of talented kids around this area who are keen as mustard to be on the team, so we should have no problem filling the spot. Silverstone plays the hardened veteran detective, while Johansson plays the keen-as-mustard rookie assigned to be her partner.
See also: keen, mustard

peachy keen

Just fine; splendid; as good as one could hope for. Sometimes used sarcastically to imply the opposite. A: "Everyone doing all right in here?" B: "Yep, we're peachy keen!" A: "Oof, that was quite a tumble. You OK?" B: "Just peachy keen, thanks."
See also: keen, peachy

have a keen interest in something

to have a strong interest in something; to be very interested in something. Tom had always had a keen interest in music, so he started a band. The children have a keen interest in having apet, so I bought them a cat.
See also: have, interest, keen

keen on doing something

willing or eager to do something. Dave isn't very keen on going to the opera. The children are keen on swimming this afternoon. Shall I take them?
See also: keen, on

keen on someone or something

 and keen about someone or something
to be enthusiastic about someone or something. I'm not too keen on going to Denver. Sally is fairly keen about getting a new job. Mary isn't keen on her new boss.
See also: keen, on

keen about, be

Be enthusiastic about. For example, He's been keen about this whole endeavor for a long time. It is also put as be keen on, which has the additional meaning "to be ardent about or in love with," as in Jim's been keen on Jane for years. With other adverbs, such as keen at and keen of, keen has been so used since the early 1500s; the current locutions, however, date from the mid-1800s.
See also: keen

keen as mustard

If someone is keen as mustard they are very eager to do something. I have an adult pupil who scored very low in assessments but is keen as mustard. Note: You can also describe someone as mustard-keen. Sir Richard was mustard-keen to say his bit. Note: `Keen' means enthusiastic, but is also used to mean sharp when referring to the blade or cutting edge of a tool or weapon. An acidic or sour taste can also be referred to as sharp, so enthusiasm is being likened to the sharp taste or `edge' given to food by mustard.
See also: keen, mustard

keen as mustard

extremely eager or enthusiastic. British informal
Keen is used here to mean ‘operating on the senses like a sharp instrument’.
See also: keen, mustard

(as) ˌkeen as ˈmustard

(British English, informal) wanting very much to do well at something; enthusiastic: She’s as keen as mustard. She always gets here first in the morning and she’s the last to leave work in the evening.
See also: keen, mustard

be mad ˈkeen (on somebody/something)

(informal) be very interested in or enthusiastic about somebody/something: She’s been mad keen on African music ever since she came back from Zimbabwe last year.He’s mad keen on getting into the army.
See also: keen, mad

peachy (keen)

mod. fine; excellent. Your idea is really peachy!
See also: keen, peachy
References in periodicals archive ?
The popularity of e-readers in this age group is related to the fact that the digital book is designed specifically to cater for an activity in which they are the keenest participants, he said.
The bill was proposed to the Keenest by Likud Coalition Chairman Ze'ev Elkin (a settler) to encourage building settlements in the West Bank.
Eurogse strives to offer the best level of service at the keenest cost while maintaining the same or even higher levels of quality for ground support.
I remember her in the 1970s as one of the club's keenest debaters.
Capita director John Roundhill says small investors were keenest to buy into financials, the largest sector in FTSE 350, during August/September.
The mentalist, whose ``Mind Games'' and its follow-up performances have entranced audiences around the world, has about the keenest eye you're likely to encounter.
To read it gives me the keenest joy, and I am filled with exultation that such a lovely thing should be.
The EIB's French Hospitals programme will enable them to obtain the keenest maturity and interest rate terms.
Schrag's keenest insight is that any individual court decision is merely a way station on a cycle of litigation, legislation, and litigation yet again.
Being stuck on the other side of the world far away from many of its keenest export customers is a significant challenge, although with the world's first export of frozen meat having been dispatched to the UK from New Zealand in 1882, it's fair to say they've just about mastered the logistics.
But even the keenest eyes won't find mention of September 11 relief efforts on the web site of the Animal Friendly License Plate Association, a nonprofit agency in Kansas City, Mo.
But due to the nature of competition and their drive for excellence, the profiled practices have been implemented and honed to help place their practitioners as the most admired, the most profitable and the keenest competitors in the business.
And yes, I wanted deeply to believe, as Hoffman had, that rock music harbored some profound revolutionary potential, that youth culture represented something more than the demographic advertisers are keenest to reach.
And yet, contrary to the trade unions' wishes--and apparently to Madame Fontaine's--such structural reforms require steps that might infringe on some of the unions' keenest accomplishments.
Moreover, those with the keenest eyes for spotting changes in the motion of dots across a computer screen exhibited the best spelling skills.