keep back - definition and synonyms

phrasal verb
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
    [transitive] to keep part of an amount of money that belongs to someone or is owed to them

    He kept back £50 for himself.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to not move towards 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.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to prevent someone from making progress

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

  5. 5
    [transitive] to keep part of something so that you can use it later

    Keep back some strawberries for decoration.

  6. 6
    [transitive] if you keep back laughter or tears, you stop yourself laughing or crying

    She struggled to keep back her tears.

See also main entry: keep