Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
keep (someone or something) down
1. To maintain something in a lowered position. Just make sure you keep down the umbrella if it starts to get windy. I like to keep the top down on my convertible even when it gets a little cold.
2. To ensure that something cannot move from its position, typically by placing something on top of it or by attaching it to something. I have a nice heavy paperweight that keeps my papers down when a breeze comes through the office We'll need to use some strong tape to keep this panel down.
3. To suppress someone's potential or prevent them from improving, advancing, etc. I feel like my boss has really been keeping me down by not letting me sit in on these meetings. Don't let setbacks like this keep you down—you have to keep trying.
4. To maintain at a low level or prevent from increasing. The board hopes to keep down tuition rates to stay competitive with other schools. Please keep your voices down during the ceremony.
5. To avoid vomiting after one has eaten when one is ill, especially with a stomach ailment. I haven't been able to keep any solids down since Tuesday, but I've been drinking plenty of fluids. Do you think you could keep down some soup?
keep someone or something down
to hold someone or something in a hidden or protected position. Try to keep Sam down where no one can see him. Please keep the noise down so Fred won't know it's a party when he comes in.
keep someone down
to prevent someone from advancing or succeeding. His lack of a degree will keep him down. I don't think that this problem will keep her down.
keep something down
1. Lit. to make the level of noise lower and keep it lower. Please keep it down. You are just too noisy. Keep the noise down, or I will call the police.
2. Fig. to retain food in one's stomach rather than throwing it up. I've got the flu and I can't keep any food down. She couldn't keep the milk down.
3. Fig. to keep spending under control. I work hard to keep expenses down. Please try to keep the cost of the new project down.
1. Hold under control, repress; also, retain food. For example, Keep you voice down, or They vowed to keep down the insurgency, or With morning sickness, she had a hard time keeping down her breakfast. [Late 1500s]
2. Prevent from increasing or succeeding, as in The government was determined to keep prices down, or Joyce felt that her lack of an advanced degree kept her down in terms of promotions. [Early 1800s]
1. To remain in a lower position: We heard gunfire overhead, so we kept down for a while.
2. To cause something to remain in a lower position: I keep the blinds down in my apartment during the summer. We kept down the shades so no one would see.
3. To prevent something from growing, accomplishing, or succeeding: These unfair wages are keeping people like us down. The new policies are keeping down the poor.
4. To hold something under control or at a reduced level: Keep your voice down, or you'll wake the baby. Keep down the noise, or you'll have to leave.
5. To refrain from vomiting something: Although I was seasick, I managed to keep my food down. The patient kept down the medicine.