English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English kepen up (to perpetuate, maintain, preserve), equivalent to keep +‎ up.

Pronunciation edit

  • (file)

Verb edit

keep up (third-person singular simple present keeps up, present participle keeping up, simple past and past participle kept up)

  1. (transitive) To maintain; to preserve; to prevent from deteriorating or falling.
    • 1992, The Daily Telegraph, London:
      The NRA is pumping groundwater into the River Itchen in Hampshire to keep up its flow and is trying to save three streams, the Tong, the Little Stour and the Dour from going dry this summer.
  2. (transitive, idiomatic) To continue with (work, etc).
    • 1687, John Aubrey, Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme, page 40:
      Non obstante the Change of Religion, the Plough-boies, and also the Schooleboies will keep-up and retain their old Ceremonies and Customes and priviledges.
    • 1991, Tennis World, Sussex: Presswatch:
      Keep up the good work of entertaining your fans on court Steffi; we know you can do it; your fans are behind you all the way.
    • 1991, Hugh Barty-King, The worst poverty, Gloucester: Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd, pages 85–203:
      If the borrower could no longer afford to keep up the payments, the longer he stayed in the home the more the interest bill mounted.
  3. (intransitive, idiomatic) To stay even or ahead.
    They ran so fast I could hardly keep up.
    • 2012 May 13, Alistair Magowan, “Sunderland 0-1 Man Utd”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Rooney and his team-mates started ponderously, as if sensing the enormity of the occasion, but once Scholes began to link with Ryan Giggs in the middle of the park, the visitors increased the tempo with Sunderland struggling to keep up.
    • 2021 September 8, Howard Johnston, “Network News: HS2 jobs boost - but skills shortage a concern”, in RAIL, number 939, page 16:
      However, there are some warning signs. Phases 1 and 2A labour requirements are expected to peak at around 26,500 over the next two years, and there will be a constant labour demand until 2025-26, but there are signs that the skills training programmes may not be able to keep up.
  4. To ensure that one remains well-informed about something.
    I always try to keep up with (or "keep up on") current affairs.
  5. To prevent someone from going to bed or to sleep
    The crying baby kept me up all night

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