A-Z Database

A-Z Database

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Keep one’s eyes peeled or skinned

Both forms of the expression are US frontier slang from the early to mid-19th century, for keeping one’s eyes wide open and staying on full alert. The...

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Keep one’s finger on the pulse

see Finger on the pulse

Keep one’s hair on

To keep one’s hair on is a British colloquialism that means to stay calm and collected without getting angry. It dates from the late 19th century, der...

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Keep one’s hands clean

Keeping one’s hands clean is a metaphor for staying out of trouble or controversy and dates from the early 18th century. It could well be an allusion...

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Keep one’s nose clean

Originally, this is the American version of keep one’s hands clean and means the same thing i.e. keep out of trouble or controversy. The American vers...

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Keep one’s nose to the grindstone

see Nose to the grindstone

Keep one’s pecker up

This British expression has nothing to do with the American slang, pecker, which means penis. Pecker here is a British colloquialism for the nose and...

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Keep one’s powder dry

Conserve one’s resources until they are needed, an obvious allusion to the gunpowder that was used in early weaponry. It is attributed to Oliver Cromw...

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Keep someone honest

The phrase 'keep someone honest' is commonly used in English and means to prevent someone from breaking a commitment or bending the rules. It's often...

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Keep something under one’s hat

see Under one’s hat

Keep the ball rolling

see Start/Get/Keep the ball rolling

Keep the pot boiling

In the figurative sense of keeping the action or momentum going, dates from the 18th century.

Keep the slate clean

see Clean slate

Keep the wolf from the door

A proverb that means to have enough food or money to avoid hunger dates from the early 16th century and alludes to the fabled ravenousness of wolves....

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Keep your head when all about you are losing theirs

This famous expression is an exhortation to retain your composure when others around you are panicking. It was coined by Rudyard Kipling in his poem I...

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