What is keep?

  • (verb): Fail to spoil or rot.
    Example: "These potatoes keep for a long time"
    Synonyms: stay fresh
    See also — Additional definitions below


A keep (from the Middle English kype) is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the castle fall to an adversary. The first keeps were made of timber and formed a key part of the motte and bailey castles that emerged in Normandy and Anjou during the 10th century; the design spread to England as a result of the Norman invasion of 1066, and in turn spread into Wales during the second half of the 11th century and into Ireland in the 1170s. The Anglo-Normans and French rulers began to build stone keeps during the 10th and 11th centuries; these included Norman keeps, with a square or rectangular design, and circular shell keeps. Stone keeps carried considerable political as well as military importance and could take up to a decade to build.

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Some articles on keep:

History - Later Use and Destruction of Keeps (17th–21st Centuries)
... The slighted keep of Raglan Castle From the 17th century onwards, some keeps were deliberately destroyed ... Keeps were singled out for particular attention in this process because of their continuing political and cultural importance, and the prestige they lent their former ... There were some equivalent destruction of keeps in France in the 17th and 18th centuries, such as the slighting of Montaiguillon by Cardinal Richelieu in 1624, but the catalogue of damage ...

More definitions of "keep":

  • (verb): Allow to remain in a place or position.
    Example: "The family's fortune waned and they could not keep their household staff"; "Our grant has run out and we cannot keep you on"
    Synonyms: retain, continue, keep on, keep going
  • (verb): Retain possession of.
    Example: "Can I keep my old stuffed animals?"
    Synonyms: hold on
  • (verb): Raise.
    Example: "She keeps a few chickens in the yard"; "he keeps bees"
  • (verb): Retain rights to.
    Example: "Keep my job for me while I give birth"; "keep my seat, please"; "keep open the possibility of a merger"
    Synonyms: keep open, hold open, save
  • (verb): Prevent from doing something or being in a certain state.
    Example: "Keep the child from eating the marbles"
    Synonyms: prevent
  • (verb): Conform one's action or practice to.
    Example: "Keep appointments"
    Synonyms: observe
  • (noun): A cell in a jail or prison.
    Synonyms: hold
  • (verb): Have as a supply.
    Example: "I always keep batteries in the freezer"; "keep food for a week in the pantry"; "She keeps a sixpack and a week's worth of supplies in the refrigerator"
  • (verb): Supply with room and board.
    Example: "He is keeping three women in the guest cottage"; "keep boarders"
  • (verb): Celebrate, as of holidays or rites.
    Example: "Keep the commandments"
    Synonyms: observe, celebrate
  • (verb): Store or keep customarily.
    Example: "Where do you keep your gardening tools?"
  • (verb): Prevent (food) from rotting.
    Example: "Keep potatoes fresh"
    Synonyms: preserve
  • (verb): Keep in a certain state, position, or activity.
    Example: "E.g., "keep clean"; "The students keep me on my toes"
    Synonyms: maintain, hold
  • (verb): Maintain by writing regular records.
    Example: "Keep a diary"; "keep notes"
    Synonyms: maintain
  • (verb): Supply with necessities and support.
    Example: "There's little to earn and many to keep"
    Synonyms: sustain, maintain
  • (noun): The main tower within the walls of a medieval castle or fortress.
    Synonyms: donjon, dungeon
  • (verb): Look after; be the keeper of; have charge of.
    Example: "He keeps the shop when I am gone"
  • (verb): Hold and prevent from leaving.
    Example: "The student was kept after school"
  • (verb): Maintain in safety from injury, harm, or danger.
    Example: "May God keep you"
    Synonyms: preserve
  • (verb): Maintain for use and service.
    Example: "I keep a car in the countryside"
    Synonyms: maintain
  • (verb): Continue a certain state, condition, or activity.
    Example: "Keep on working!"; "Keep smiling"
    Synonyms: continue, go on, proceed, go along
  • (verb): Observe correctly or closely.
    Example: "Keep count"; "I cannot keep track of all my employees"
    Synonyms: observe, maintain