Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

keep back

 - definition
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
phrasal verb
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theykeep back
he/she/itkeeps back
present participlekeeping back
past tensekept back
past participlekept back
  1. 1
    [transitive] to not tell someone something, or to not show how you feel

    He said he was fine, but I knew he was keeping something back.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to not move toward someone or something, or to stop someone from doing this

    Police were warning people to keep back.

    A barrier had been erected to keep back the crowds.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to prevent someone from making progress

    It's only her lack of confidence that's keeping her back.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to keep part of something so that you can use it later

    Keep back some strawberries for decoration.

See also main entry: keep

hostile architecture

the design of buildings or public spaces in a way which discourages people from touching, climbing or sitting on them …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

boots on the ground

a situation in which a country's armed forces are physically present in an area of conflict …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog