to keep at bay

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - keep at bay

"to keep at bay"

to prevent someone or something that is threatening or attacking from being able to advance


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - keep at bay

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: It seems that a hostile takeover is inevitable.

Colleague 2: But we have kept them at bay until now.

Colleague 1: And we have pretty much used up all our resources. One more big push from them and we will have no choice but to give in and accept the takeover.

Colleague 2: Well, we put up a good fight holding them off as long as we did.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - keep at bay

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: Come and check this out on the news.

Friend 2: Are you serious? Only six riot police and a couple of barricades are keeping that huge mob at bay?

Friend 1: It is hard to believe that the mob is not just overwhelming the police and advancing.

Friend 2: Those are sure some brave riot police.

Test Your Understanding  

to keep at bay - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   2,861   click for frequency by country

to keep at bay - Gerund Form:

Keeping the bear at bay, my dog defended me so that I had enough time to load my gun.

to keep at bay - Examples:

1)  ... in Washington, on Wall Street, and in corporate offices are being kept at bay by an untenable policy of low interest rates and a corrupt financial press, while ...

2)  Don't also forget that the mighty US war machine has been kept at bay by a bunch of dedicated guys with simple assault rifles and RPG's.

3)  ... some geographic areas had always accepted these books as scripture, others kept them at bay, even considering them to be forgeries. 

4)  ... scooped up some brains on the circular sign, and kept the people at bay with it. They reared back ten or fifteen feet in a circle around him.

5)  I want the bad stuff to be kept at bay. I want us to remember it gets better even when it's hard.

6)  Because I have lived a' healthy' lifestyle, these conditions were kept at bay. My healthy lifestyle has quite simply prolonged my life so that I am still ...

7)  ... took up residence in my sinuses last week, and I've kept it at bay so far, but I think it's about to win. Sigh.

8)  The short-term threat to the Eurozone has been kept at bay by committing vast sums of money.

9)  ... way into the enemy trenches and destroyed four cannons that had kept Allied troops at bay.

10)  ... of saying that the emotions you felt were always kept slightly at bay, always controllable.

11)  ... ironic smiles and deft shrugs that suggest a world of emotion kept sternly at bay

12)  Rich bankers and lavishly rewarded executives have in the past kept critics at bay with accusations that they are anti-business -- or just plain envious.

13)  For a moment, he kept it at bay and the tree began to swing and Robert began to believe the impossible. 

14)  However the legend that is Eddie Comerford, kept them at bay until the 18th where he had a 10 ft putt to halve the match.

15)  However, the Keepers kept them at bay, simply with verbal orders which the elephants fully comprehend.

16)  ... not have more right to it than we do; we kept the enemy at bay and then defeated them.

17)  I ascended that mountain and kept them at bay throwing stones at them.

18)  ... few weeks after my brother died -- so, I purposely kept my grief at bay, because I didn't want to disappoint my fans!

19)  For fifty days the two armies kept each other at bay without coming to a fight.

20)  A third dimension is a constant feeling of chaos kept at bay (another constant in history), just beyond the firewall of everyday routine.