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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

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 classic literature ?
Hence the one provokes and incites the most languid appetite, and the other turns and palls that which is the sharpest and keenest.
They are some of her keenest fans, and travelled to Manchester with their teachers to watch her compete in the Grand Prix.
It's a fair outlay for what will be of limited use for only the keenest of snappers.
The gates were then opened from 8am yesterday for those keenest to get their top spots for their tents.
The gates were then opened from 8am today for those keenest to get their Glastonbury experience off to an early start and get the top spots for their tents.
Particularly, after the Israeli Keenest approved the Israeli draft law that countenances force- feeding of the hunger striking Palestinian prisoners.
NNA - "Loyalty to Resistance" parliamentary bloc member, Hussein Al-Moussawi, on Wednesday wondered at the accusations of some parties to the deputies who did not attend the Parliamentary sessions to elect new President of disrupting presidential elections in a bid to reach power vacuum despite their knowledge that "we are the keenest on electing a new President soon.
MIDLANDS drivers are the keenest in the country to clean their own cars, according to a survey.
HE exhilarating victory of Andy Murray in the TMen's Final at Wimbledon yesterday was better surely than even his keenest fans had hoped for.
Seventeen of Stokesley's keenest gardeners are inviting people to come and view their gardens and to share gardening tips.
Now Kesha's not exactly known for her conventional looks or behaviour, but this one for the 2013 MTV Movie Awards left even her keenest fans bemused.
Now Kesha's exactly known for her conventional looks or behaviour, but this one for the 2013 MTV Movie Awards left even her keenest fans bemused.
Paul Davies, of Mintel, said that over-55s are the keenest readers across all formats of books (paperback, hardback and digital) - bar audiobooks.
Shukri expressed his belief that this is "a campaign directed against the Sadrist Trend, whose members proved to be the keenest about public funds".
Yet Eurosport's attempts to liven it up by showing a young girl watching the bikes whizz past while sitting in the scoop of a digger or dazzling viewers with an aerial shot of the local church can hardly fascinate even the keenest cycling fans.