keep (someone or something) in order

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keep (someone or something) in order

1. To ensure that a group of people or things remains in the correct arrangement or sequence. He keeps all of his books in meticulous order, so please don't go rearranging them! Make sure you keep the students in order on the way into the auditorium. We don't want them to end up in the wrong place for the recital.
2. To ensure that some place or thing remains neat, tidy, and orderly. Please try to keep the house in order while I'm gone! I don't want to come home to a horrible mess. I've just never been someone who keeps their desk in order. I like to think of it as a kind of controlled chaos.
3. To ensure that someone acts or behaves in the correct, desired, or lawful manner. This legislation will hopefully keep those greedy multinational corporations in order. Their eldest daughter has always been a troublemaker—they've had a very hard time keeping her in order ever since she was a child. You've got to keep your staff in order if you want your department to hit its targets.
See also: keep, order

keep someone or something in order

to keep people or things in the proper sequence. Please try to keep the children in order until their turn to perform comes. Can you keep these books in order for me?
See also: keep, order