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keep down - definition and synonyms


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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.



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phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theykeep down
he/she/itkeeps down
present participlekeeping down
past tensekept down
past participlekept down
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  1. 1
    to control something and prevent it from increasing in size or number

    We have to try and keep costs down.

    The cats help to keep down the rats.

  2. 2
    to stop someone from achieving what they are capable of achieving

    Even if you’re intelligent, they still try to keep you down.

  3. 3
    to succeed in keeping food in your stomach although you feel as if you want to vomit

    I’d eat something if I thought I could keep it down.

  4. 4
    to make a noise less loud

    Keep it down! I’m trying to sleep.

  5. 5
    to control people in such a strict or cruel way that they have very little freedom or very few rights

    These immigrants were kept down for decades.

See also main entry: keep

sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

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