keep time

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keep time

1. In music, to keep rhythm or maintain tempo. The guys in the band can play—just not together. They almost never keep time.
2. Literally, for a clock or watch to accurately track and indicate the time. My grandfather's old pocket watch is a bit tarnished, but it still keeps time perfectly!
3. To monitor the clock in a sporting event or other contest. It must be nerve-racking to keep time during a game that important. One mistake could affect the whole season!
See also: keep, time
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

keep time

 
1. Lit. to maintain a musical rhythm. Bob had to drop out of the band because he couldn't keep time. Since he can't keep time, he can't march, and he can't play the drums.
2. . Fig. to keep watch over the time in a game or an athletic contest. Ann kept time at all the basketball games. Whoever keeps time has to watch the referee very carefully.
3. . Fig. [for a clock or a watch] to keep track of time accurately. This watch doesn't keep time. My other watch kept time better.
See also: keep, time
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

keep time

1. Maintain the correct tempo and rhythm of music; also, mark the rhythm by foot-tapping, hand movements, or the like. For example, The children love to keep time by clapping their hands. This usage dates from the late 1500s and is occasionally put figuratively, as Ben Jonson did in Cynthia's Revels (1699): "Slow, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears."
2. Also, keep good time. Indicate the correct time, as in This inexpensive watch does not keep good time. [Late 1800s]
See also: keep, time
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.

keep ˈtime


1 (of a clock or watch) always show the correct time: It’s an old watch, but it keeps very good time.
2 sing, play, or dance to music at the right speed: Keep time with the music, Fiona. You’re singing too fast.
See also: keep, time
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

keep time

1. To indicate the correct time.
2. Music To maintain the tempo or rhythm.
See also: keep, time
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The company kept time sheets based on workers logging on and off their computers.
In addition to functioning as a calendar, the almanac also kept time for our forebears.
Barbara Duffy, tough and centered, her feet directly beneath her, kept time impeccably with or without musical accompaniment.
In 1945 McMillan (see 1940) worked out a method for synchronizing the magnetic field in such a way that the alternations of the magnetic field slowed and kept time with the mass increase of the particles.
The 340lb clock, built by Liverpool clockmaker James Condliff in 1838, last kept time at St Mary's Church more than 20 years earlier.
The clock, which crowns the elegant building that was once Birkenhead Town Hall, has kept time over the Georgian square since it was started at noon on Saturday, November 27, 1886, by Elsie Laird, 11-year-old daughter of William Laird, Lord Mayor of Birkenhead.