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Castle vs. Keep: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Castle is a large fortified building or set of buildings. Keep is the fortified innermost part of a castle, often a tower.
Castle vs. Keep

Key Differences

A castle is a large fortified structure, often a residence for nobility or royalty, encompassing various buildings and walls. A keep, on the other hand, is the central tower within a castle, serving as the last line of defense.
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Nov 21, 2023
Castles, as architectural marvels, have been symbols of power and control, featuring defensive mechanisms, living quarters, and often lavish decorations. Keeps were designed for defense and safety, often the strongest and most secure part of a castle, used as a refuge during sieges.
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Nov 21, 2023
Castles were strategically located to control territories, often near water bodies or on hilltops, and featured multiple buildings. The keep was typically centrally located within a castle, constructed with thick walls and limited access for better defense.
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Castles have played a significant role in cultural and social history, being centers of governance and society. Keeps, while primarily defensive, also held symbolic importance, representing the strength and resilience of the occupants.
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Nov 21, 2023
The design and function of castles evolved over time, adapting to changes in warfare and society. Keeps also evolved, from simple towers to complex structures with living accommodations and administrative functions.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A fortified residence or complex of buildings.
The fortified central tower or structure within a castle.
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Nov 21, 2023

Primary Function

Defense, residence, governance, and symbol of power.
Last line of defense, refuge during sieges.
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Nov 21, 2023

Architectural Complexity

Consists of multiple buildings, walls, and defensive features.
Typically a single, but heavily fortified, structure.
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Role in Warfare

Overall defense and control of territory.
Safe haven and stronghold within the castle.
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Cultural and Historical Role

Center of power, governance, and social events.
Symbol of strength and last stand during conflicts.
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Castle and Keep Definitions

Castle

A large building fortified against attack.
The medieval castle stood majestically on the hilltop.
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Nov 21, 2023

Keep

The central tower of a castle.
The oldest part of the castle was the stone keep.
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Nov 21, 2023

Castle

A symbol of power and protection.
The castle has been a symbol of the kingdom's enduring strength.
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Nov 21, 2023

Keep

The innermost and strongest structure of a medieval castle.
The keep's thick walls were impenetrable to enemy attacks.
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Castle

A large fortified building or group of buildings with thick walls, usually dominating the surrounding country.
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Keep

To retain possession of
Kept the change.
Must keep your composure.
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Castle

A fortified stronghold converted to residential use.
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Keep

To have as a supply
Keep spare parts in case of emergency.
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Castle

A large ornate building similar to or resembling a fortified stronghold.
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Keep

To provide (a family, for example) with maintenance and support
"There's little to earn and many to keep" (Charles Kingsley).
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Castle

A place of privacy, security, or refuge.
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Keep

To support (a mistress or lover) financially.
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Castle

(Games) See rook2.
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Keep

To put customarily; store
Where do you keep your saw?.
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Castle

To move the king in chess from its own square two empty squares to one side and then, in the same move, bring the rook from that side to the square immediately past the new position of the king.
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Keep

To supply with room and board for a charge
Keep boarders.
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Castle

To place in or as if in a castle.
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Keep

To raise
Keep chickens.
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Castle

(Games) To move (the king in chess) by castling.
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Keep

To maintain for use or service
An urbanite who didn't keep a car.
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Castle

A large residential building or compound that is fortified and contains many defences; in previous ages often inhabited by a nobleman or king. Also, a house or mansion with some of the architectural features of medieval castles.
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Keep

To manage, tend, or have charge of
Keep the shop while I'm away.
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Castle

(chess) An instance of castling.
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Keep

To preserve (food).
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Castle

A rook; a chess piece shaped like a castle tower.
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Keep

To cause to continue in a state, condition, or course of action
Tried to keep the patient calm.
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Castle

(shogi) A defense structure in shogi formed by defensive pieces surrounding the king.
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Keep

To maintain records or entries in
Keep a yearly diary.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Castle

(obsolete) A close helmet.
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Keep

To enter (data) in a book
Keep financial records.
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Castle

(dated) Any strong, imposing, and stately palace or mansion.
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Keep

To detain
Was kept after school.
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Castle

(dated) A small tower, as on a ship, or an elephant's back.
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Keep

To restrain
Kept the child away from the stove.
Kept the crowd back with barriers.
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Castle

The wicket.
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Keep

To prevent or deter
Tried to keep the ice from melting.
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Castle

(transitive) To house or keep in a castle.
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Keep

To refrain from divulging
Keep a secret.
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Castle

To protect or separate in a similar way.
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Keep

To save; reserve
Keep extra money for emergencies.
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Castle

(obsolete) To make into a castle: to build in the form of a castle or add (real or imitation) battlements to an existing building.
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Keep

To adhere or conform to; follow
Keep late hours.
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Castle

To move the king 2 squares right or left and, in the same turn, the nearest rook to the far side of the king. The move now has special rules: the king cannot be in, go through, or end in check; the squares between the king and rook must be vacant; and neither piece may have been moved before castling.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To be faithful to; fulfill
Keep one's word.
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Castle

To create a similar defensive position in Japanese chess through several moves.
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Keep

To celebrate; observe
Keep the Sabbath.
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Castle

(cricket) To bowl a batsman with a full-length ball or yorker such that the stumps are knocked over.
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Keep

To remain in a state or condition; stay
Keep in line.
Keep quiet.
Kept well.
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Castle

A fortified residence, especially that of a prince or nobleman; a fortress.
The house of every one is to him castle and fortress, as well for his defense againts injury and violence, as for his repose.
Our castle's strengthWill laugh a siege to scorn.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To continue to do
Keep on talking.
Keep guessing.
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Castle

Any strong, imposing, and stately mansion.
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Keep

To remain fresh or unspoiled
The dessert won't keep.
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Castle

A small tower, as on a ship, or an elephant's back.
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Keep

To restrain oneself; hold oneself back
I couldn't keep from eavesdropping.
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Castle

A piece, made to represent a castle, used in the game of chess; a rook.
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Keep

Care; charge
The child is in my keep for the day.
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Castle

To move the castle to the square next to king, and then the king around the castle to the square next beyond it, for the purpose of covering the king.
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Keep

The means by which one is supported
Earn one's keep.
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Castle

A large and stately mansion
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Keep

The stronghold of a castle.
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Castle

A large building formerly occupied by a ruler and fortified against attack
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Keep

A jail.
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Castle

(chess) the piece that can move any number of unoccupied squares in a direction parallel to the sides of the chessboard
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Keep

To continue in (a course or mode of action); to not intermit or fall from; to uphold or maintain.
To keep silence;
To keep possession
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Castle

Interchanging the positions of the king and a rook
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Keep

To remain faithful to a given promise or word.
To keep one's word;
To keep one's promise
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Castle

Move the king two squares toward a rook and in the same move the rook to the square next past the king
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Keep

(transitive) To hold the status of something.
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Castle

A residence of a monarch or noble.
The king's castle was known for its grand banquets.
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Keep

To maintain possession of.
I keep a small stock of painkillers for emergencies.
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Castle

A complex of buildings with strong defenses.
They explored the ancient castle ruins, imagining its past glories.
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Keep

To maintain the condition of; to preserve in a certain state.
I keep my specimens under glass to protect them.
The abundance of squirrels kept the dogs running for hours.
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Oct 19, 2023

Castle

A chess piece resembling a tower.
In a strategic move, she castled her king for safety.
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Keep

(transitive) To record transactions, accounts, or events in.
I used to keep a diary.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

(transitive) To enter (accounts, records, etc.) in a book.
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Keep

(archaic) To remain in; to be confined to.
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Keep

To restrain.
I keep my pet gerbil away from my brother.
Don't let me keep you; I know you have things to be doing.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

(with from) To watch over, look after, guard, protect.
May the Lord keep you from harm.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To supply with necessities and financially support (a person).
He kept a mistress for over ten years.
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Keep

(of living things) To raise; to care for.
He has been keeping orchids since retiring.
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Keep

To refrain from freely disclosing (a secret).
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Keep

To maintain (an establishment or institution); to conduct; to manage.
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Keep

To have habitually in stock for sale.
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Keep

(intransitive) To hold or be held in a state.
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Keep

(obsolete) To reside for a time; to lodge; to dwell.
She kept to her bed while the fever lasted.
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Keep

To continue.
I keep taking the tablets, but to no avail.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To remain edible or otherwise usable.
Potatoes can keep if they are in a root cellar.
Latex paint won't keep indefinitely.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

(copulative) To remain in a state.
The rabbit avoided detection by keeping still.
Keep calm! There's no need to panic.
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Keep

(obsolete) To wait for, keep watch for.
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Keep

To act as wicket-keeper.
Godfrey Evans kept for England for many years.
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Keep

To take care; to be solicitous; to watch.
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Keep

To be in session; to take place.
School keeps today.
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Keep

(transitive) To observe; to adhere to; to fulfill; to not swerve from or violate.
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Keep

To visit (a place) often; to frequent.
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Keep

To observe or celebrate (a holiday).
The feast of St. Stephen is kept on December 26.
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Keep

(historical) The main tower of a castle or fortress, located within the castle walls.
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Keep

The food or money required to keep someone alive and healthy; one's support, maintenance.
He works as a cobbler's apprentice for his keep.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

(obsolete) The act or office of keeping; custody; guard; care; heed; charge; notice.
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Keep

The state of being kept; hence, the resulting condition; case.
To be in good keep
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Keep

(obsolete) That which is kept in charge; a charge.
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Keep

(engineering) A cap for holding something, such as a journal box, in place.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To care; to desire.
I kepe not of armes for to yelp [boast].
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Keep

To hold; to restrain from departure or removal; not to let go of; to retain in one's power or possession; not to lose; to retain; to detain.
If we lose the field,We can not keep the town.
That I may know what keeps me here with you.
If we would weigh and keep in our minds what we are considering, that would instruct us.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To cause to remain in a given situation or condition; to maintain unchanged; to hold or preserve in any state or tenor.
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal.
Keep a stiff rein, and move but gently on.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To have in custody; to have in some place for preservation; to take charge of.
The crown of Stephanus, first king of Hungary, was always kept in the castle of Vicegrade.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To preserve from danger, harm, or loss; to guard.
Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To preserve from discovery or publicity; not to communicate, reveal, or betray, as a secret.
Great are thy virtues . . . though kept from man.
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Keep

To attend upon; to have the care of; to tend.
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it.
In her girlish age, she kept sheep on the moor.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To record transactions, accounts, or events in; as, to keep books, a journal, etc.; also, to enter (as accounts, records, etc. ) in a book.
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Keep

To maintain, as an establishment, institution, or the like; to conduct; to manage; as, to keep store.
Like a pedant that keeps a school.
Every one of them kept house by himself.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To supply with necessaries of life; to entertain; as, to keep boarders.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To have in one's service; to have and maintain, as an assistant, a servant, a mistress, a horse, etc.
I keep but three men and a boy.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To have habitually in stock for sale.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To continue in, as a course or mode of action; not to intermit or fall from; to hold to; to maintain; as, to keep silence; to keep one's word; to keep possession.
Both day and night did we keep company.
Within this portal as I kept my watch.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To observe; to adhere to; to fulfill; not to swerve from or violate; to practice or perform, as duty; not to neglect; to be faithful to.
I have kept the faith.
Him whom to love is to obey, and keepHis great command.
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Keep

To confine one's self to; not to quit; to remain in; as, to keep one's house, room, bed, etc.; hence, to haunt; to frequent.
'Tis hallowed ground;Fairies, and fawns, and satyrs do it keep.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To observe duly, as a festival, etc.; to celebrate; to solemnize; as, to keep a feast.
I went with them to the house of God . . . with a multitude that kept holyday.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To remain in any position or state; to continue; to abide; to stay; as, to keep at a distance; to keep aloft; to keep near; to keep in the house; to keep before or behind; to keep in favor; to keep out of company, or out reach.
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Keep

To last; to endure; to remain unimpaired.
If the malt be not thoroughly dried, the ale it makes will not keep.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To reside for a time; to lodge; to dwell.
Knock at his study, where, they say, he keeps.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To take care; to be solicitous; to watch.
Keep that the lusts choke not the word of God that is in us.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

To be in session; as, school keeps to-day.
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Keep

The act or office of keeping; custody; guard; care; heed; charge.
Pan, thou god of shepherds all,Which of our tender lambkins takest keep.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

The state of being kept; hence, the resulting condition; case; as, to be in good keep.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

The means or provisions by which one is kept; maintenance; support; as, the keep of a horse.
Grass equal to the keep of seven cows.
I performed some services to the college in return for my keep.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

That which keeps or protects; a stronghold; a fortress; a castle; specifically, the strongest and securest part of a castle, often used as a place of residence by the lord of the castle, especially during a siege; the dungeon. See Illust. of Castle.
The prison strong,Within whose keep the captive knights were laid.
The lower chambers of those gloomy keeps.
I think . . . the keep, or principal part of a castle, was so called because the lord and his domestic circle kept, abode, or lived there.
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

That which is kept in charge; a charge.
Often he used of his keepA sacrifice to bring.
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Keep

A cap for retaining anything, as a journal box, in place.
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Keep

The financial means whereby one lives;
Each child was expected to pay for their keep
He applied to the state for support
He could no longer earn his own livelihood
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Keep

The main tower within the walls of a medieval castle or fortress
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Keep

A cell in a jail or prison
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Keep

Keep in a certain state, position, or activity; e.g.,
Keep clean
Hold in place
She always held herself as a lady
The students keep me on my toes
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Continue a certain state, condition, or activity;
Keep on working!
We continued to work into the night
Keep smiling
We went on working until well past midnight
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Retain possession of;
Can I keep my old stuffed animals?
She kept her maiden name after she married
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Prevent from doing something or being in a certain state;
We must prevent the cancer from spreading
His snoring kept me from falling asleep
Keep the child from eating the marbles
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Conform one's action or practice to;
Keep appointments
She never keeps her promises
We kept to the original conditions of the contract
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Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Observe correctly or closely;
The pianist kept time with the metronome
Keep count
I cannot keep track of all my employees
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Look after; be the keeper of; have charge of;
He keeps the shop when I am gone
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Maintain by writing regular records;
Keep a diary
Maintain a record
Keep notes
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Supply with room and board;
He is keeping three women in the guest cottage
Keep boarders
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Allow to remain in a place or position;
We cannot continue several servants any longer
She retains a lawyer
The family's fortune waned and they could not keep their household staff
Our grant has run out and we cannot keep you on
We kept the work going as long as we could
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Supply with necessities and support;
She alone sustained her family
The money will sustain our good cause
There's little to earn and many to keep
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Fail to spoil or rot;
These potatoes keep for a long time
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Celebrate, as of holidays or rites;
Keep the commandments
Celebrate Christmas
Observe Yom Kippur
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Keep under control; keep in check;
Suppress a smile
Keep your temper
Keep your cool
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Maintain in safety from injury, harm, or danger;
May God keep you
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Raise;
She keeps a few chickens in the yard
He keeps bees
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Retain rights to;
Keep my job for me while I give birth
Keep my seat, please
Keep open the possibility of a merger
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Store or keep customarily;
Where do you keep your gardening tools?
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Have as a supply;
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
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Maintain for use and service;
I keep a car in the countryside
She keeps an apartment in Paris for her shopping trips
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Hold and prevent from leaving;
The student was kept after school
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

Prevent (food) from rotting;
Preserved meats
Keep potatoes fresh
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Keep

A stronghold within a castle.
During the siege, the residents took shelter in the keep.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Keep

A secure area for defense and refuge.
The keep was built to withstand even the toughest of battles.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Keep

A place of last resort in defense.
As the battle raged on, the soldiers retreated to the keep.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Did all castles have keeps?

Most medieval castles had keeps, but not all modern castles feature them.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Are castles still built today?

New castles are rare, but some are built for historical or tourism purposes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

How were castles defended?

Castles were defended through their architecture, walls, moats, and garrisons.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

What is the primary function of a castle?

A castle serves as a fortified residence, defensive structure, and symbol of power.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

What is the keep in a castle?

The keep is the central, most secure tower or structure within a castle.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Did castles change over time?

Yes, castle designs evolved with changing warfare techniques and societal needs.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Are keeps made of stone?

Originally, keeps were primarily made of stone for strength and durability.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

What was the keep used for?

The keep was used for defense, refuge during sieges, and sometimes as living quarters.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Is a keep always at the center of a castle?

Traditionally, keeps are centrally located for strategic defense, but some designs vary.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Were keeps comfortable to live in?

Originally, keeps were not designed for comfort but for defense, though some were later adapted for living.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Can a castle be part of a town?

Yes, many castles were integral parts of towns or cities, providing protection.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Did keeps have multiple floors?

Yes, keeps often had multiple floors with various functions.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

What is the difference between a castle and a palace?

Castles are fortified structures, while palaces are luxurious residences without fortifications.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Do modern castles function like historical ones?

Modern castles often serve as tourist attractions, museums, or residences, not for defense.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Can keeps be separate from castles?

Traditionally, keeps are part of castles, but some keeps exist independently.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Did castles always serve as residences?

Yes, castles often served as residences for nobility, royalty, or military commanders.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Were castles only built in Europe?

While commonly associated with Europe, castles were built in various regions worldwide.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

How tall were typical keeps?

Keep heights varied, but they were often the tallest part of a castle for visibility and defense.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Were keeps used for storing valuables?

Yes, keeps were sometimes used to store valuables and important documents.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Can keeps be visited today?

Many keeps in historical castles are open to the public for tours and educational purposes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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