hold/keep somebody/something at bay

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hold (someone or something) at bay

To keep something at a distance from oneself, especially that which is harmful or unpleasant; to control something in order to keep it from doing harm to oneself. During my college years, the only things I had to hold hunger at bay were beans, rice, and plain pasta. You have to start meeting your minimum monthly repayments if you want to hold your creditors at bay. These tree frogs have a powerful poison on their backs that helps hold predators at bay.
See also: bay, hold

keep (someone or something) at bay

To keep something at a distance from oneself, especially that which is harmful or unpleasant; to control something in order to keep it from doing harm to oneself. During my college years, the only things I had to keep hunger at bay were beans, rice, and plain pasta. You have to start meeting your minimum monthly repayments if you want to keep your creditors at bay. These tree frogs have a powerful poison on their backs that helps keep predators at bay.
See also: bay, keep

hold/keep somebody/something at ˈbay

prevent somebody/something from coming too close or attacking: Vitamin C helps to keep colds and flu at bay.
References in classic literature ?
Crupp, after some difficulty, consented to warm up; and it shrunk so much in a liquid state, that we found it what Steerforth called 'rather a tight fit' for four.
Lotty, with Teutonic phlegm, was calmly eating bread and currant wine, for the jelly was still in a hopelessly liquid state, while Mrs.
As this plateau is, in its very nature, highly volcanic, and as asphalt is a substance which one associates with Plutonic forces, I cannot doubt that it exists in the free liquid state, and that the creatures may have come in contact with it.
I remember having been much struck with the evidence of denudation, when viewing volcanic islands, which have been worn by the waves and pared all round into perpendicular cliffs of one or two thousand feet in height; for the gentle slope of the lava-streams, due to their formerly liquid state, showed at a glance how far the hard, rocky beds had once extended into the open ocean.