keep back

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keep back

1. To physically restrain someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "keep" and "back." I kept him back so that he didn't run after her.
2. To cause someone or something to physically stay away from someone or something else. A noun or pronoun can be used between "keep" and "back." This area is too dangerous so keep the kids back.
3. To obstruct someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "keep" and "back." Your fears are really keeping you back in life. The levee is keeping back the floodwaters, for now.
4. To require a student to repeat a grade of school. A noun or pronoun can be used between "keep" and "back." Am I really being kept back? I don't want to repeat junior year—can't I go to summer school or something?
5. To hold or keep something in one's possession. A noun or pronoun can be used between "keep" and "back." I kept back some of the money, so we still have some cash left.
See also: back, keep

keep (someone, something, or an animal) back (from someone or something)

to make someone, something, or an animal stay in a position away from someone or something. Keep everyone back from the injured lady. Please keep the dogs back from the turtle.
See also: back, keep

keep someone or something back

to hold someone or something in reserve. Keep back some of the food for an emergency. We are keeping Karen back until the other players have exhausted themselves.
See also: back, keep

keep someone back

 and hold someone back 
1. Lit. to restrain people from moving forward or getting in the way. The police were ordered to keep people back so they wouldn't interfere with the paramedics.
2. Fig. to keep a child in the same grade for an extra year. We asked them to keep John back a year. John was kept back a year in school.
3. Fig. to keep someone from advancing in life. I think that your limited vocabulary is keeping you back. Her lack of computer skills kept her back in her career.
See also: back, keep

keep back

1. To remain out of the way: The spectators at the film shoot kept back. Passengers are requested to keep back behind the yellow line.
2. To cause someone or something to remain out of the way: The police kept the onlookers back so that the paramedics could do their job. The fine mesh kept back the debris.
3. To fail to advance someone to the next grade or class of school; flunk: The teacher kept three struggling students back. A tutor helped each student who was kept back.
See also: back, keep
References in periodicals archive ?
Despite winning on heavy, has reportedly been kept back for better ground and there'll be a lot of devastated syndicate members if he fails to justify the hype receiving weight from Rougham, who flopped last time.
I have not kept back your loving kindness from the great congregation." The best advertisements for God and His loving kindness are to be found in all people of faith, their lives and their actions.
At least pounds 86m is estimated to have been kept back nationally last year.
The rest of the tickets were kept back for Friends of St David's Hall.
Though they did raid pounds 323 from the piggy bank in that period they will go into the Christmas period with pounds 426 head-start, second only to Cardiff whose savers kept back pounds 619.
The Gwent side, boosted by a win over Premier Division leaders Newport last week, kept back Neath's lead to 13-10 before being out-muscled by the Blacks' powerful pack.
Emergency services cordoned off streets around the building and kept back scores of youngsters on their way to school.
He told the Politeia think-tank in London: "At present, well over pounds 3 billion of the total schools budget is kept back by LEAs to spend, as they see fit, on their own activities and bureaucracy.
Little Mix, kept back until the last half-hour, were the headline act but one of the lesser names almost stole their thunder as Craig Colton's sensitive and touching treatment of the song Jar of Hearts got the biggest cheer of the night.
The pounds 3million signing was being kept back until he was ready but could be in the squad for the Fulham game on Saturday.
Some SHAs were unable to provide figures but the data also suggested SHAs have kept back at least pounds 12.8m that should have been passed on to NHS trusts.
The soldier, an engineer not attached to the division, had been kept back from the front amid concerns over his state of mind.
Among boys in the oldest third of each class, those who had repeated a year were "significantly" shorter than those who had never been kept back a grade.
The ladies toilets were a ceramic hole in the floor, the stewarding was virtually nil, the policing was very poor and no announcements were made in English to inform us that we were being kept back after the game.