hold at bay, to

(redirected from to hold at bay)

hold (someone or something) at bay

To keep someone or something at a distance or from reaching full potency, especially in order to prevent harm to oneself. These tree frogs have a powerful poison on their backs that helps hold predators at bay. You have to start meeting your minimum monthly repayments if you want to hold your creditors at bay. During my college years, the only things I had to hold hunger at bay were beans, rice, and plain pasta.
See also: bay, hold
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hold someone or something at bay

Fig. to make someone, a group, or an animal stay at a safe distance. (Originally referred only to animals.) I held the attacker at bay while Mary got away and called the police. The dogs held the bear at bay while I got my gun loaded.
See also: bay, hold
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

hold at bay, to

To keep some adverse situation from worsening; to hold off an enemy. The term comes from the Old French tenir a bay, which meant to hold open or in suspense, and referred to a hunted animal being cornered by its pursuers. The term was used literally by the fourteenth century, and figuratively soon thereafter. It is also phrased as to keep at bay.
See also: hold, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
According to The Dawn, compared to the time when Pakistan used to lose just a single Test match in a span of 15 months, they had to bow down to the scandal of spot-fixing, although they managed to hold at bay South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and England before Whatmore came along.
Halifax were big and strong with a penchant for driving mauls which, to their credit, Stour's defence managed to hold at bay when at times a try seemed inevitable.
But jockey Kieren Fallon got to work and drove his mount to the front half a furlong from home and the duo just managed to hold at bay Godolphin newcomer Saffwah and the late-thrusting Miss Thailand.
The daughter of Theatrical, runner-up in both of her previous races, just managed to hold at bay Godolphin newcomer Saffwah and the late-thrusting Miss Thailand.
"The computer may still be kicking out notices," she wrote in an email, "but they are not to be honored by the customers." But this response places the burden back on residents like Jimenez and the Chualar Elementary School who dutifully try to hold at bay the collections agents and threatened shut-offs.
That result earned them 20 points and enabled them to hold at bay defending champions Cardiff, who powered their way to a 149-78 success against Prestatyn-based Ffrith.