Middle English Dictionary Entry

kẹ̄pen v.
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To care about (sb.), wish for (sth.), desire (sb. or sth.); ~ no bettre, want nothing better; ~ no more, desire nothing more; ~ of, care about (sb.); (b) ~ nought (nothing, not) of, to care nothing about (sb. or sth.); ~ no (never) more of, want no more of (sb. or sth.), have no further use for; (c) ne kepe ich nought, ich kepe not, I don't care at all (that sth. is so); kept ich never, I never wished (that sth. should take place); etc.
To wish or desire (to do or be sth.); -- usually in negative contexts.
(a) To take (sth.) into one's possession, take (sth. from sb.), receive (sth.); attain (a certain age); -- also used intr.; (b) to take (sth.) by force; ~ of, snatch off (a falcon's hood); ~ up, snatch up (a weapon); (c) ?to pillage; (d) to catch (sb. who is falling); take (sb. in one's arms), take (sb., animals) captive, catch (butterflies), capture.
(a) To receive (a blow); fig. ~ dethes clap (dint), suffer death; (b) to take (a stroke) defensively; ward off, parry.
(a) To keep (sth.) in one's possession; retain, hold, have; ~ in honde; ~ breth, hold (one's) breath; ~ possessioun, retain possession; ~ sole, remain single; ~ water, retain (one's) urine; -- also used intr.; (b) to keep (sth.) in mind; hold in memory, remember; ~ in minde (thought); ~ remembraunce.
(a) To hold or preserve (sth. in a container, vessel, etc.); also fig.; (b) of a container: to hold or preserve (sth.); of a place: contain (persons), hold.
(a) To hold (sth.) in reserve; keep for future use, hoard; ~ in hord, ~ in stor; ~ time, bide (one's) time; ppl. kepinge, as adj.: niggardly, stingy; (b) to reserve (sth., oneself, for sb. or for somebody's use); -- with for or to (til, unto) phr. or with dat. obj.
(a) To keep (sb. or sth. in, or out of, a place or position); force to remain or stay; ~ awei (of), keep (sb. or sth.) away, prevent from coming near; also, drive away; ~ in, keep (sth.) in, retain; ~ oute (withouten), prevent (sb. or sth.) from entering; ~ togederes, keep (persons or things) together; ~ up, keep (sb.) upright; etc.; (b) to hold (sb. or oneself apart from somebody else), keep away.
(a) To keep (sb., oneself, or sth. in, or out of, a state or condition); ~ in chastite, keep (the body, oneself) chaste; ~ in clos, keep (sth.) secret; ~ in the werre, keep (oneself) at war; ~ out of blame, keep (sb.) out of disrepute; ~ to the lif, keep (sb.) alive; ~ withouten charge, keep (oneself) from being burdensome; etc.; (b) to keep (sb. or sth.) being (such and such); refl. keep oneself (such and such), remain (such and such); ~ chaste, ~ clene, ~ clos, ~ secre, ~ stille, ~ wakinge, etc.; refl. ~ a maide clene, remain a virgin.
(a) To restrain (sb.) from doing something; (b) to restrain (oneself) from an expression of sorrow, restrain (an act of expression); ~ in, ~ in hold; (c) refl. to hold oneself back (from sin, idolatry, unseemly action, etc.), refrain; also, abstain (from eating certain food); (d) ~ tonge (mouth), to restrain (one's) speech, hold (one's) tongue, keep silent; ivel kept tonge; (e) ~ fot, to watch (one's) steps; (f) ~ of, to refrain from (sth.).
(a) To be on guard (that sth. does not take place), take heed; -- also refl.; (b) to serve as a prevention (that sth. does not take place); ppl. kepinge, preventative; (c) to prevent (sb. or sth. from doing sth.); (d) to watch out, beware; be careful (to do sth.).
(a) To guard (a captive or prisoner), hold (sb.) prisoner, keep (sb.) imprisoned; also, besiege (sb.); ~ in prisoun, ~ in warde, etc.; (b) to keep (an animal) confined; (c) of a prison: to hold (a convict).
(a) To guard (sb., an animal) protectively, defend (sb. against foes); (b) refl. to defend oneself from attack, protect oneself against assault, be on one's guard; (c) ~ hed, to guard (one's) head, be on (one's) guard; ~ his cors, ?protect his body, ?protect himself.
(a) To guard or defend (a place, a structure), guard (treasure, an object, a corpse), defend (the church); keep watch over (approaches by sea); also fig.; (b) ~ for (fro, from), to guard (a place, etc.) against (sb. or sth.); ~ of, keep (a place) free from (noise).
(a) To protect or preserve (sb. or sth.) from harm, damage, decay, pain, etc.; saven and ~, crist kepe the, so god me kepe, etc.; (b) ~ fro(m, to preserve or protect (sb. or sth.) from (harm, heat, cold, pain, sorrow, shame, sin, the Devil, etc.); (c) ~ for (of), to protect (sth.) from (sth.); (d) to serve as protection against (sth.); (e) to last without spoiling, keep.
(a) To save (sb.) from death, keep alive; also, save or spare (someone's life); (b) to be saved, have salvation.
Anat., med., & surg. (a) To shield (a part of the body), protect; shield (the eye) during cauterization, protect (a wound from water, air, etc.), protect (a patient or a wound from ulceration, pain, etc.); (b) to preserve (part of the body, a bodily substance); (c) to hold (a disease, a cancer, an ulcer, etc.) in check, keep from worsening, palliate without curing.
(a) To preserve (sth.) without loss or change; perpetuate, conserve; ~ up the bodi of policie, preserve the body politic; (b) to keep (sth.) secret; ~ counseil, keep a secret, keep (someone's) secret, keep (sth.) a secret.
(a) To preserve (a quality, state, or condition), keep in a state of being, maintain; ~ forth, ~ up; ~ contenaunce, maintain (one's) composure; ~ (god) name, preserve reputation; ~ hele, preserve health; ~ (in) silence, keep silence; ~ the pes, keep the peace; etc.; (b) to keep (a fire) from going out.
(a) To take care of (sb.) personally; look after, watch over, attend; serve (a master or mistress); nurse, nurture, or rear (a child); treat or nurse (a patient); kepinge knight, a servant, an attendant; (b) ~ to, to take care of (sb.) by personal attendance; (c) to attend (sb. with honor, worship, etc.), honor (sb. or somebody's life with due observance); (d) to have command of (a body of soldiers, sentinels).
(a) To support (sb., oneself), sustain in means of livelihood, provide for, accommodate; also, keep (a woman) in concubinage; (b) to provide (a body with food); (c) to take in (paying guests).
(a) To govern (affections, thoughts, etc.); ~ thi cors, govern yourself, act; (b) refl. to take care of oneself, manage or govern one's behavior, behave.
(a) To take care of (sheep, cattle, swine, hawks, etc.); look after, watch over, guard, tend; also fig. tend or protect (persons) as a flock; (b) ~ til (to), to attend to (sheep, horses).
(a) To take care of (property), look after (goods), manage (affairs); ~ hous (houshold), manage the affairs of a household; (b) to look after the growing of (grain, a tree); (c) to look after the proper working of (sth.), maintain in working order, keep in repair; ~ crokke (pot), watch a boiling pot; ~ forth (up) the reparacioun, maintain the repairs, see to the upkeep; (d) to hold (a place, an object) in official possession or custody; also fig.
To govern or rule (a country, province, city, people, etc.); rule (a place) as a vicegerent; ~ governaunce (lordshipe), exercise governing authority; ~ the coroune, rule as a king, reign; -- also intr.
(a) To keep watch for (sb., a hunted animal); keep watch of (a hunted animal); (b) to lie in wait or ambush for (sb.); -- also used intr.
(a) To await the arrival of (sb.); await (somebody's arrival); greet or welcome (sb.) on arrival; (b) to wait to find out (sth.).
(a) To take notice of (sth.), observe, mark; (b) ~ to, to look to (God) for help; ~ til, observe (sb.).
(a) To engage (sb.) in combat, assault; ~ bataille, engage in combat; ~ in the berd, attack (sb.) at close quarters; meet (sb.) head-on; (b) ~ with carp, to engage (sb.) in conversation.
(a) To continue on (a course, road, path); keep to (a way of life), adhere to (a course of action); (b) to continue (to do sth.); continue (in a specified condition); (c) to pass (a period of time); ~ time, employ (one's) time.
(a) To carry on (an activity, conversation), practice (a craft), keep (a watch), maintain (a siege, war), hold (a session of a king's court, a meeting), conduct (a church council), hold (a funeral service), celebrate (a mass), etc.; (b) ?to exert (oneself to do sth.); ben kept, be occupied (with an activity).
(a) To remain in (a place), keep within (a place), occupy (the place of sb.), keep to (one's bed), keep (a distance); ~ houshold, maintain residence; (b) to stay within (physical bounds or bounds of conduct); (c) ~ feld (stale), to remain on the battlefield, maintain one's position in battle, stand firm; ~ ouen, hold (one's) own; ~ hors bak, stay on (one's) horse's back; ~ sadel, stay in (one's) saddle; ~ to marche, stay along the border or in the borderlands; (d) to stay without moving about, reside (in a place); also, maintain battle position; (e) refl. to keep oneself (somewhere); stay (in a place), remain, dwell; ~ upon hors bak, ~ on stede, maintain oneself on horseback; ~ in (within), stay inside.
(a) To abide by (sth. prescribed, promised, or agreed to); follow (a commandment, advice), obey (a command), observe (the law), keep (the faith); adhere to (a promise, vow, boast, etc.), maintain (one's belief); etc.; (b) to maintain (laws, etc.) in force, enforce (the law).
To observe (a prescribed practice, regimen, etc.), honor (an observance, a sacrament), follow (a custom, monastic rule, etc.).
(a) To observe (a holy day, festival, etc.), celebrate in the prescribed way; (b) to honor a commitment to (one's day in court, one's day of payment, or one's day of battle); (c) of planets, stars: to observe (the limits of periods of time).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?c1425 Chauliac(2) (Paris angl.25)536/13 : Þat blode last kepeth many men þat ben redy to falle into sekenesses.
  • Note: might be placed in 11c.(a) with gloss to protect (a patient) from disease
  • ?c1425 Chauliac(2) (Paris angl.25)383/21 : How schal þe lepre be helede…when þat…þe cancre in one membre is nouȝt helede? It may be preseruede, i. kepte, and couerede…it may not…be curede.
  • Note: ?New gloss 'prevented'
    Note: ?unlikely in context. Seems to mean 'kept in its present state' - i.e., not spreading--per MM
  • a1475 Friar & B.(Brog 2.1)p.50 : Schete whersoever thou wyll, Thou schalt never faylle…The pryke rydy thou schalt kepe.
  • Note: Additional quote(s)
  • a1500(?a1390) Mirk Fest.(GoughETop 4)5/6 : Kepytt your veniauns to me, and I wyll qwyt you.
  • Note: New sense
    Note: 'convey, give, reserve for me'?
  • (1344) *Anc.Pet.(PRO)SC 8-192.9580 : We bisecheþ þi grace & þin help vor þe l[o]ue of god & vor seinte charite & vor þine eldre soules of þi commission to jon of Draitoun vor to do attachie þulke misdoeres…where & whenne þt jon mai kepe time where þulke mowe be ifounde in þi realme.
  • Note: Antedates 19.(c)

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Phrase "~ sole" in sense 4a.(a) represents a revision of that found in the print MED, "~ soule", mis-defined as "keep (one's) life, stay alive." The phrase "~ soule" does indeed appear ('preserve one's life, save one's soul'), but not in the quotations under this sense.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1425 Daniel *Treat.Uroscopy (BodeMus 187:Harvey)f.3r (1.3) : 'Epar'..twynneþ & dyuiseþ þe clere fro þe þyk & þe clene fro þe vnclene, & kepeþ hym hys fode of þe blode.
Note: ?New sense. Editor's gloss: kepeþ hym 'retains for itself'.