keep one's head


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keep (one's) head

To be and remain in a calm, stable, sensible, and pragmatic state or condition despite stress. My father has always been a rock of level-headed judgment and advice. Even during our family's lowest points, he's always kept his head.
See also: head, keep
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

keep one's head

1. Stay calm, retain self-control, as in When the rowboat capsized, George yelled that everyone should keep their head and hold onto the boat . This usage dates from the early 1600s and is about two centuries older than the antonym, lose one's head, meaning "to become confused and agitated," as in Whenever the stock market goes down sharply, people seem to lose their heads and sell.
2. keep one's head above water. See head above water.
See also: head, keep
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The necessity to keep one's head above water is often the single most contributing force behind the advertisements emanating from within a bar.
In addition to being politically essential in the broadest sense of one's profession, it is personally important to keep one's head out of the sand and avoid non-productivity.
Leadership has been defined as the ability to keep one's head while others all around are losing theirs.
This excellent book takes off about a third of the way into it where the author asserts: "When dealing with China, it was important to keep one's head on straight."
I must thank all of you who wrote asking for further details of this and other ways in which it is possible to keep one's head above water in volatile times.