1. The act or office of keeping; custody; guard; care; heed; charge. "Pan, thou god of shepherds all, Which of our tender lambkins takest keep." (Spenser)

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

3. 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." (Carlyle) "I performed some services to the college in return for my keep." (T. Hughes)

4. 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 donjon. "The prison strong, Within whose keep the captive knights were laid." (Dryden) "The lower chambers of those gloomy keeps." (Hallam) "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." (M. A. Lower)

5. That which is kept in charge; a charge. "Often he used of his keep A sacrifice to bring." (Spenser)

6. <machinery> A cap for retaining anything, as a journal box, in place. To take keep, to take care; to heed.

(01 Mar 1998)

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